Publication of this book got Geraghty arrested in 1998 for violating England's Official Secrets Act, though the Crown later...




An angry, obsessive analysis of the Anglo-Irish conflict that throws the Good Friday Peace Accords into doubt and condemns Irish extremists (rather than the British) for perpetuating a disorganized, politically naive terrorist war whose victims have been mostly innocent civilians.

Don't call the killings, bombings, and riots in Northern Ireland mere `Troubles,` warns journalist Geraghty (Who Dares Wins, not reviewed). Born on English soil to Irish parents, Geraghty began covering Northern Ireland for London’s Sunday Times in 1969. To him, the current peace has not closed the door to isolated, reactive incidents, but is a mere phase in a continuous `Irish War` that began in 1691, when `amateur warriors . . . refined terrorism into an art form.` He makes his case in four sections that brim with anguish at so much senseless suffering, beginning with is a recap of the political-religious violence and intrigue from 1969 to 1998 that asserts, among other things, that the IRA stage-managed several violent incidents in Belfast to demonize the British and encourage American financial support. This is followed with an insider's look at 30 years of British strategies that have thwarted some—but far from all—IRA and Ulster Defense Army terrorism; an outsider's appraisal of the IRA homemade weapons industry; and an expose of the collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the heavy-handed Northern Ireland police force) and Protestant terrorists. Geraghty concludes with a hasty but thorough overview from 1691 to the present that (while acknowledging murderously cruel British oppression) identifies a distinctively Irish `physical force tradition` that has little to do with contemporary religious affiliation or political goals.

Publication of this book got Geraghty arrested in 1998 for violating England's Official Secrets Act, though the Crown later dropped its charges (and with good reason: the few British tricks revealed herein pale beside a devastating accusation of IRA inhumanity to the Irish). (20 b&w photos, maps, illustrations)

Pub Date: May 18, 2000

ISBN: 0-8018-6456-9

Page Count: 444

Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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