Movement-builders of today will want to take note of Hayden’s thoughtful look back.



“Hell, no, we won’t go!” Recently deceased politician and one-time radical leader Hayden (Listen Yankee! Why Cuba Matters, 2015, etc.) sounds a cri di antiguerre for the movement that helped halt America’s misadventure in Vietnam.

“Truth, it is said, is war’s first casualty. Memory is its second.” So writes the author, perfectly encapsulating his argument. By Hayden’s account, the Vietnam experience is slowly being remade, courtesy of conservative forces, into a just and blameless exercise in American goodwill. In that program of revision, the anti-war movement is being written out of history altogether. In this slender volume, the author charts how that movement originated, informed by popular struggles for independence around the world and for civil rights at home. He notes that, when it came to the early days of the movement, nothing was prepackaged, so that he and other radical leaders had to build their own set of arguments against “the dominant paradigm over our lives: that the Cold War was necessary to stop monolithic international Communism from knocking over the ‘dominoes’ of the Free World, one by one.” Hayden then considers the anti-war movement in action, voicing passing regret at the handful of protestors who chose to fly the Viet Cong flag. Against that tiny number of misguided people, he writes, stands a much-overshadowing popular movement, the first of its kind since McCarthyism, to halt an unjust war, one that needs to be studied and revived today. Another regret in this lucid and perfectly sized essay in reflection: that to some extent everyone might just as well have stayed home, since, he notes on a trip to Vietnam, the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are lined with the same shops as in Kansas City: “Why kill, maim, and uproot millions of Vietnamese if the outcome was a consumer wonderland approved by the country’s still-undefeated Communist Party?”

Movement-builders of today will want to take note of Hayden’s thoughtful look back.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-300-21867-1

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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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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