For military buffs, a blood-soaked war story about a courageous horse.




More than six decades ago, American Marines fought to hold a hill in Korea. They had significant help from a singular horse.

Clavin (The DiMaggios: Three Brothers, Their Passion for Baseball, Their Pursuit of the American Dream, 2013, etc.) graphically details war on an individual level. Within the relentless account of the bravery of many men, the featured character is a Mongolian racehorse, recruited to carry the heavy ammunition for a recoilless rifle platoon. Named “Reckless,” like the troop’s appellation for their primary weapon, the horse was bought from its Korean owner by the platoon’s lieutenant. The pretty little filly with the white blaze and three white socks appeared to have, according to Clavin, human attributes beyond a fondness for beer. “Iron willed,” she “never shirked or complained” though she seemed to have “a sense of entitlement” as well as a “sense of humor.” Reckless certainly possessed fortitude; what she did one day in 1953 was remarkable. Under heavy enemy fire, she made countless trips up steep terrain carrying heavy shells to supply her platoon. On the way back, she often carried the wounded to safety. It was estimated that she carried more than four tons of ammunition in trips covering more than 30 miles, mostly alone, without guidance or prompting. The fame of the stalwart horse, who gave added resonance to the idea of Semper Fi, grew both within the Corps and among the folks at home. Reckless made sergeant and received several decorations. Despite his research, Clavin’s dramatic tale of the leatherneck steed doesn’t necessarily eschew imaginative elaboration, particularly in regard to her back story. “Readers should keep in mind,” he warns in an endnote, “that what makes for a heck of a story can be highly speculative.”

For military buffs, a blood-soaked war story about a courageous horse.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-451-46650-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: NAL Caliber/Berkley

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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