Readers not put off by the author’s piety and unqualified patriotism will encounter a vivid, nuts-and-bolts account of...




The story of Saddam Hussein’s capture.

The events in December 2003 produced headlines and predictions that they would end the increasingly bloody insurgency. This didn’t happen, and the event is now considered a historical footnote. However, it was not a footnote in the career of former Lt. Col. Russell, who provides an account of his battalion’s actions from May 2003 to February 2004, with frequent asides to express personal beliefs. According to Russell, after Hussein’s defeat he went underground to orchestrate a bitter insurgency designed to wear down American forces. It was moving into high gear when Russell assumed command in Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. The author is clearly a professional soldier focused on crushing the enemy, and he writes a nearly day-by-day chronicle of patrols, raids, skirmishes and intelligence gathering as his men fought insurgents while tracking and capturing Hussein’s high-level henchmen and eventually the dictator himself. Sadly, according to the author, al-Qaeda immediately stepped in to take over the insurgency, which persisted for many years. Russell credits prayer with facilitating the capture. A dedicated officer, he loves his men, agonizes when they suffer, praises God when they’re spared, never doubts that they fought to defend America, and does not hide his contempt for those who felt otherwise: liberals, the media, antiwar demonstrators and spineless politicians as well as any officer who has not experienced battle.

Readers not put off by the author’s piety and unqualified patriotism will encounter a vivid, nuts-and-bolts account of small-unit tactics during the early years of the Iraq insurgency.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6248-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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