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...

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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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