Goltz’s worm’s-eye view of the work of gathering news in a war zone will intrigue students of journalism and the media, as...

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CHECHNYA DIARY

A WAR CORRESPONDENT’S STORY OF SURVIVING THE WAR IN CHECHNYA

A blood-soaked tale drawn from yesterday’s headlines—but news stories that too few Westerners ever bothered to read.

“If I ever get killed covering killing,” writes world-roving TV stringer Goltz, “I would like to state right now that the only person more foolish than me for getting into such a situation would be anyone who would describe my having done so as courageous.” Yet that’s the business of war-and-mayhem junkies such as Goltz, and he lives up to the foolishness, almost getting terminated here for working a tripod-mounted camera that looked just like a recoilless rifle, almost buying it there for having crossed the path of the wrong bunch of Russian commandos. He also sets objectivity by the door early on, and it’s clear that his sympathies lie with the Chechen rebels who throughout the 1990s resisted the invitation of the new Russian Federation to remain part of the team, a status Chechens had been busy declining for hundreds of years. The recent (and ongoing) conflict, Goltz writes, can be seen as “merely the most recent attempt by Moscow, repeated approximately every 50 years, to eradicate the Chechens from the face of the earth”—a view he doesn’t necessarily hold himself, but one widely shared by the Chechens, even those who signed up with Al Qaeda to fight Americans instead of their hated Russian foes. Goltz wanders in and out of savage battle scenes and vicious massacres, camera in hand, looking for the big story that will finally put Chechnya at least somewhere in the consciousness of news producers back home; and he finds it in a little village called Samashki, “the place of the deer,” soon to become the site of a bloodbath that even Moscow television would equate with “Lidice, Khatyn, and Son My.”

Goltz’s worm’s-eye view of the work of gathering news in a war zone will intrigue students of journalism and the media, as well as those who follow wars in remote corners of the planet.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2003

ISBN: 0-312-26874-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2003

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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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