From Kimball (History/Rutgers Univ.), who edited the collected correspondence of FDR and Winston Churchill, another look at the fateful partnership that helped win the Second World War. FDR and Churchill first met in London in 1918, when the American was a visiting assistant secretary of the navy and Churchill a famous member of Britain's war cabinet. It was not, apparently, an auspicious meeting: Churchill offended Roosevelt years later by telling him he did not remember the encounter. Also, Churchill's attempts to cultivate political contact with Roosevelt when he was governor of New York and later president were unsuccessful, until WW II intervened. However, once the correspondence between the two finally began (even while Churchill was still a member of Neville Chamberlain's cabinet), the tone was set for the ``special relationship'' that ultimately resulted in the Atlantic Alliance. In sketching the personalities of the two partners, Kimball draws parallels and contrasts: Both were flamboyant speakers and masters of dramatic language, both generated intense personal loyalty, both were idealists with a pragmatic bent. Churchill was a master of detail who micromanaged, while Roosevelt left most of the details to subordinates. Kimball records the years of America's pro-British neutrality, in which the US supported Britain through lend-lease aid and assistance of an increasingly military nature, and the intensification of the relationship between the two leaders as the US and the Soviet Union entered the war. The Churchill-Roosevelt friendship set the tone for the sometimes tense, sometimes warm Anglo-American relationship, which Kimball follows through its high points and its lows (like the Yalta Conference, in which Roosevelt joined forces with Stalin in opposing some of Churchill's ideas). Ultimately, Kimball points out, the relationship played a crucial role in creating the ``Holy Alliance'' against fascism that ended the war and created the postwar world. An absorbing examination of one of modern history's most dynamic friendships and its military consequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-08523-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1997

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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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