The subject matter makes the book sometimes difficult to read—as it was no doubt difficult to write—but Borneman’s broad...




A fresh account of a well-documented historical event, the Pearl Harbor attack, which “has never been told through the eyes of the many brothers serving together aboard the Arizona that fateful day.”

As Borneman (MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific, 2016, etc.) recounts, there were 38 sets of brothers serving on the Arizona when it was attacked. The author’s history of their lives and the events of that day alternates between impending doom and eternal hope for survivors. The narrative gets bogged down in the necessary but inevitably similar backgrounds of the soldiers, most of whom suffered during the Great Depression. They came from all over the country and entered the Navy at the lower ranks. Most were farm boys or children of merchants who joined up to help feed their families. They were luckier than most because the Navy was happy to assign brothers to the same ship, recognizing the positive impact on morale. Of the 2,403 killed in the Japanese attack, almost half were on the Arizona; it remains the single worst military ship disaster in American history. Borneman’s extensive research turns up interesting details about the history of the battleship, including the massive amounts of fuel and gunpowder that contributed to the conflagration when the Japanese bombs hit. Ultimately, though, this is the soldiers’ story, and the author tells it in moving, only occasionally excessive detail. Later, accusations rose that the Navy never should have had so many ships at Pearl Harbor, but the author notes that while there were more than 100 vessels there, there were more than 100 others out to sea, and not all those in port were lost.

The subject matter makes the book sometimes difficult to read—as it was no doubt difficult to write—but Borneman’s broad knowledge and sensitive touch make it an entirely worthwhile experience.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-43888-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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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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