WINGS OF MORNING

THE STORY OF THE LAST AMERICAN BOMBER SHOT DOWN OVER GERMANY IN WORLD WAR II

A poignant story of a B-24 crew from the selection and training of its members through their spine-tingling combat raids over Germany in WW II. Childers (History/Univ. of Pennsylvania), a nephew of crew member Howard Goodner, has sifted through hundreds of wartime letters between the 12 men and their loved ones. In addition, he has persevered in meticulously researching Air Corps and other government records, wresting spare information from an indifferent bureaucracy, visiting family members of the crew, and doing research in Germany. Narrating mainly from the standpoint of his uncle (who did not survive the bomber's final mission), Childers tells the story of the Black Cat, an inauspiciously named plane in America's Eighth Air Force that, in the last few months of the war in Europe, was engaged in supporting ground troops in the final offensive against Nazi Germany. The Black Cat had 22 successful missions, sustaining only minor damage. On the stormy day of April 21, 1945, shortly before the German surrender, the crew departed on a mission to bomb a bridge, no more than ten feet wide, near Salzburg, Austria. Sending the plane up in weather so bad that the pilot could not locate the target was only one of the erroneous command decisions made that day. After the mission was canceled, the commander disregarded the warnings of the navigator and directed the bomber to return over Regensburg, a town covered by heavy German anti-aircraft fire. The bomber was shot down, and all but two of the crew perished. Childers tells his true and tragic story with both the narrative flow of fiction and a you-are-there immediacy. A fitting memorial to the crew of the Black Cat.

Pub Date: May 8, 1995

ISBN: 0-201-48310-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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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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