THE SEVENTH MILLION

THE ISRAELIS AND THE HOLOCAUST

An unflattering examination of how political positions have shaped Israeli attitudes toward the Holocaust. Segev (1949: The First Israelis, 1986) covers world events for Ha'aretz, a leading Israeli newspaper. The ``seventh million'' is Segev's metaphor for the yishuv (the Jewish population of Palestine and, later, Israel), still grappling to come to terms with the memory of the six million Jews exterminated by Hitler. In his telling—based on thousands of archival documents and numerous interviews—the Holocaust became a political football in the hands of the various factions that continue to plague Israel. Few idols are left unscathed here—not Chaim Weizmann, not Ben-Gurion, not Menachem Begin. Zionists like Ben-Gurion, Segev says, had only scorn for the ÇmigrÇs who managed to escape from Germany to Palestine before WW II, and for Jews throughout the world who opted for what the Israeli leader considered the false security of their native lands instead of flocking to Palestine to build up the Homeland. Early settlers resented the ``yekkes''—their disparaging term for German immigrants—for their individualistic, capitalistic notions, so different from the communal, socialist ideals of the Zionist pioneers. Efforts to spirit Jews out of Europe during and after the war, Segev contends, were generally guided by political considerations as each faction shamefully focused on bringing in only those individuals who might strengthen its own position. Similarly, the trials of Adolf Eichmann and John Demjanjuk have become skirmishes in factional battles to gain advantage from the Holocaust. Segev concludes with the hope that the lesson of the Holocaust will, in the end, be a humanist one—accepting the need to preserve democracy, to fight racism, to defend human rights, and to refuse to obey manifestly illegal orders. But he acknowledges that this lesson will be difficult to learn as long as Israel must fight to defend itself and to justify its very existence. A powerful and disturbing book, sure to arouse heated debate. (Photographs)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-8090-8563-1

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1993

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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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