Quite readable, for doctrinaire chapter and verse.




Fresh off his argument that Abraham Lincoln solidified a “mercantilist” government/business cabal that still pollutes American capitalism (The Real Lincoln, 2002), DiLorenzo (Economics/Loyola College) now dilates on that perspective.

Pure capitalism, readers are told and retold, is the most efficient economic engine any country could want, notwithstanding the fact that it has rarely existed anywhere, including the US. Culling examples from our country’s history to prove it, the author asserts that if propertied men, not indentured servants, had populated the original (“lost”) Virginia colonies, they would have had the incentive not to starve to death. The author faults generations of US presidents for failing to understand that laissez-faire (the only French that neoconservatives will brook these days) is the only reasonable response to economic crises, not meddlesome regulation. His insistence that both federal spending and borrowing be immediately cut in such situations is not, for some reason, rendered in context of the current administration. And while DiLorenzo chides Harding and Coolidge for pushing bank credit in the 1920s into explosive inflation that presented fellow Republican Hoover with a recipe for the Great Depression, he fails to mention four successive years of Coolidge tax cuts as contributing to the mountain of debt that precipitated the catastrophe. Hoover is then identified as the craven progenitor of a market-manipulation package later used by Roosevelt in the New Deal, which, in the author’s view, did not end the Depression but prolonged it until after WWII. One well-made point begs readers considering classic robber barons to distinguish between real capitalist good guys (e.g., Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Hill) and rivals who merely chased government deals and subsidies. About the only flaw in capitalism the author concedes, perhaps unwittingly, is that it “always breeds malcontents,” including the “intellectuals” who conspire to give it a bad name.

Quite readable, for doctrinaire chapter and verse.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-7615-2526-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2004

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


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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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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