Bugliosi does himself and his argument no favors with his tone of flippancy and dismissiveness, as when he chides conspiracy...




Manson Family prosecutor Bugliosi (Helter Skelter, 1974, etc.) takes on the endless and various host of JFK conspiracy buffs in this ponderous tome.

By the author’s count, there are nearly 350 organizations and individuals who have been implicated in the conspiracy theories swirling around the president’s murder on November 22, 1963. Most of the buffs advancing them, he growls, are “as kooky as a three-dollar bill in their beliefs and paranoia about the assassination,” and he has a point; one multi-conspiracy advocate, reminded that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had not been named as a party in the assassination and cover-up, replied, “Give us time.” The point of this metropolitan phone book–sized volume, it seems, is to dismantle those theories one by one, in sometimes tedious and overladen detail; but given the multiplicity of those theories and the evidence required to dispel them, it is hard to imagine that the book or approach could have been much different. Perhaps the most pervasive argument—apart from the overarching one that Lee Harvey Oswald could not, for various reasons, have acted alone—is that the Warren Commission deliberately acted to suppress evidence of conspiracy, to which one counsel tells Bugliosi, “The one thing I wanted to do was find a conspiracy…. If I could have found…that Oswald didn’t do it, I’d have been the senator from Ohio, not John Glenn.” In turn, Bugliosi examines and then dismisses theories concerning the so-called magic bullet found on Kennedy’s stretcher, the audio reports of a second shooter, the alleged involvement of organized crime, the several charges that Fidel Castro or perhaps anti-Castro Cubans killed Kennedy and the omnibus innuendoes of Oliver Stone’s film JFK, which rolled several conspiracy theories into one.

Bugliosi does himself and his argument no favors with his tone of flippancy and dismissiveness, as when he chides conspiracy buffs for failing to admit the possibility that “a nut like Oswald would flip out and commit the act.” Still, this compendium is oddly fascinating, even if it probably won’t change anyone’s mind.

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-393-04525-3

Page Count: 1632

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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