THE CAMBRIDGE SPIES

THE UNTOLD STORY OF MACLEAN, PHILBY, AND BURGESS IN AMERICA

It is remarkable that, as the publisher claims, no comprehensive assessment—utilizing information derived under the Freedom of Information Act—of the espionage activities in the US of British spies Maclean, Philby, and Burgess has appeared from an American source until the publication of this book. It is all the more remarkable, even for those who have followed the story closely, in that this account by Newton, a former State Department executive, calls for a considerable revision in our understanding of the period following WW II. For more than four years, Newton reports, Donald Maclean, regarded as one of the stars of the British Foreign Office, was at the center of Anglo-American efforts to coordinate opposition to Stalin. At critical moments—during the period when the Soviet Union was acting with almost inexplicable boldness in Eastern Europe—he was thus in a position to assure Stalin that the US had virtually no atomic bombs in its arsenal. During the Korean War, he passed on the information that the US had taken the decision not to use atomic weapons except in the most extreme circumstances— information that could have been critical in China's decision to intervene. By comparison, the damage done by Philby and Burgess was much less important. Nobody emerges well from this narrative: as Newton notes, in the cover-up the British withheld information from the Americans, the CIA from the FBI, the FBI from the State Department, and the Atomic Energy Commission from all the others and from Congress as well. We are inevitably left with questions that may never be answered—for example, why the Soviets allowed Burgess, a drunken, indiscreet, promiscuous homosexual, to blow Philby's cover—but this account provides us with the fullest and most perceptive analysis of an important phase in Soviet espionage. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: June 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8191-8059-9

Page Count: 464

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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