PEARL HARBOR GHOSTS

A JOURNEY TO HAWAII THEN AND NOW

Exploration in great human depth of a pivotal American and Japanese event, by Clarke (Equator, 1988; By Blood and Fire, 1981, etc.). Innocence and the ever-present Japanese are Clarke's themes in this meticulously researched meditation on FDR's ``day that will live in infamy.'' Clarke's images of Hawaiian colonial torpor and American military ineptitude, based on eyewitness reports and interviews, are unforgettable. Between the carefully crafted lines is the pre-WW II America that felt itself invulnerable: ``General Short did not understand [radar] nor think it was necessary''; fighter aircraft were ``disarmed and rolled into a tight anti-sabotage formation on the tarmac, making it impossible to arm and launch them all in under four hours.'' Meanwhile, in Washington, the final act of a deadly drama is playing out as last-minute information is fumbled by both US and Japanese bureaucracies. Above Hawaii in a small plane, Ensign Tadeo Yoshikawa, a.k.a. Vice Consul Yaeishi Morimura, is finishing his work as ``the most effective and important spy in the world with many contenders for that title.'' (He also washes dishes to eavesdrop on blue-collar help, observes from a glass- bottomed boat, and swims in the harbor mouth looking for submarine nets.) Clarke is masterful in the personal realities- -the shell-shock and heroism; the ripping apart of close, Japanese-American relationships; the still-inadmissable division of Nisei loyalties; and the hysterical reactions. (An officer loses it and is carried away on a stretcher; a woman imagines herself dead, and her husband with another woman; observers write detailed descriptions of nonexistent German planes and pilots.) Woven into the dreamlike tapestry are sharp, provocative bits on contemporary Japanese-US realities, several connected with insensitive Japanese tourists at the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor, and angry American reactions—including the author's. Powerful, compelling prose lays this ghost to rest with dignity and painstaking honesty. (Thirty-two b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-08301-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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