THE SECRET ALLIANCE

THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE RESCUE OF THE JEWS SINCE WORLD WAR II

A well-researched, well-written account of the extensive covert activities that allowed two million Jews to steal home. Szulc (Then and Now, 1990; Fidel, 1986, etc.) provides ample atonement for an American Jewish community that stands self-accused of not doing enough for their European brethren during WW II. Between 1943 and 1991, American Jews and the relief organizations they formed helped rescue nearly two million Jews from Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. This narrowly focused study spotlights obscure heroes like Joe Schwartz of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Shaul Avigur of Mandate Palestine's Mossad. While Jews flooded allied displaced- person camps after the war to loudly press their humanitarian case before the world, agents of rescue performed the improbable in clandestine operations in Hungary, Egypt, and, most recently, Albania and Ethiopia. It is shocking to discover that thousands of dollars a head had to go from the Israeli secret service to the likes of Ceauescu and Saddam Hussein before Jews were allowed to be smuggled out to freedom. Only a reading of all 40 books in the bibliography could determine whether the reporter who broke the Bay of Pigs story has broken much new ground here, but Szulc has certainly succeeded in assembling the most readable book on the topic. (Photos—not seen.)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-374-24946-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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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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