PRISONERS OF HOPE

EXPLORING THE POW/MIA MYTH IN AMERICA

A compelling book dealing with the question of MIAs in Vietnam. As a journalist Keating has worked for Soldier of Fortune magazine and the conservative Washington Times. Nonetheless, in the present volume, she uses her skills as an investigative reporter to attack the notion that American POWs and MIAs were left behind in Indochina. A vocal lobby clamors for a full accounting of all MIAs, numbered by the federal government at around 1,200. Reported sightings add fuel to the belief that American soldiers were held hostage by the Vietnamese and abandoned by a government eager to put the war behind it. After all, the logic goes, hadn't it happened to the French in the 1950s? The truth, however, according to Keating, is that the US experience is not that of the French: No American POWs remain. And aside from a few known defectors, all the MIAs are dead. Citing the 80,000 missing from WW II, Keating points out that MIAs are part of the nature of modern warfare, in which the recovery or identification of remains is often impossible. In the case of the Vietnam POWs, however, the military had reduced the number of true ``missing'' to under 100 before a political hue and cry forced them to inflate the MIA list with the names of many men known to be dead but whose bodies were not found. Sightings of live POWs are hoaxes, says Keating, designed to fuel a political machine or to extort money from relatives on the slim hope that the men are alive. She slams, in particular, mercenaries like Bull Simons and Bo Gritz, who plan raids into Indochina (most of which never occur) in search of the lost. The real conspiracy, writes Keating, is not committed by a government bent on hiding a scandal but by those who prey on the hopes and fears of the ones truly left behind—the families of the dead. Highly persuasive.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-43016-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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

NIGHT

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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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