A useful resource for serious students of World War II.




An in-depth account of the denouement of the Pacific phase of World War II.

WWII veteran and historian Heinrichs (Emeritus, History/San Diego State Univ.; Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II, 1988, etc.) and Gallicchio (History/Villanova Univ.; The Scramble for Asia: U.S. Military Power in the Aftermath of the Pacific War, 2008, etc.) begin in early 1944, as American forces began to shift from containment of Japanese advance to a sustained offensive. The goals were twofold: recovering territory lost in the initial Japanese expansion and forcing a Japanese capitulation. Several factors complicated the process: the determination of the Japanese to fight to the last man; the continuing war on the European front; rivalries between the Army and Navy; and the political situation at home. The authors give each due consideration. Descriptions of the battles make it clear how high the cost of the Japanese strategy was. In most of the battles, the Americans faced well-sited defensive positions designed to extract as many casualties as possible. Only toward the end of the war did significant numbers of Japanese troops surrender, but at the same time, the kamikaze attacks were causing enormous damage to the American fleet. Meanwhile, the European war’s demands for personnel and supplies limited the resources available to the U.S. commanders in the Pacific, who were already at odds over how best to prepare for the apparently inevitable invasion of Japan. Back in the U.S., much energy was being expended on the questions of how to quickly return to a peacetime economy and how to return the veterans of Europe’s war to their civilian lives. Harry Truman and his new administration wrestled with these issues, which were exacerbated by a sense that the population would not support a drawn-out siege of Japan. The authors’ handling of these questions, which ultimately led to the atomic bombing of Japan, is more interesting than their sometimes-ponderous coverage of the battles. Substantial documentation, much of it from Japanese sources, adds value.

A useful resource for serious students of World War II.

Pub Date: June 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-19-061675-5

Page Count: 728

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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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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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