An exciting, earnestly narrated World War II story.




Davis (editor: An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry, 2010) tells the story of the Cretan soldiers who struck a blow to German morale during World War II.

Highlighted in a recent biography by Artemis Cooper, the life of Patrick Leigh Fermor was romantically restless, as he demonstrated early on when he resolved to walk across Europe at age 18. With the breakout of World War II, his knowledge of Greece landed him in a special-ops mission to the German-invaded Crete in order to carry out British espionage. Leigh Fermor cooked up the plot to abduct the occupying German Gen. Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller from the bath; he and his fellow agents had been deeply distraught by the crisis of Cretan occupation, brutally carried out by Müller. After being dropped by parachute on a plateau near the village of Kritsa in 1944, Leigh Fermor rendezvoused with the Cretan patrols and fellow British agent Billy Moss, after many setbacks, and waited for the opportune moment. Even though Müller had been replaced as general, the plan went forward by April. Wearing smuggled German military police uniforms, the two Englishmen, along with a ragtag group of locals, took up position on the route taken by the new general, Heinrich Kreipe, from his residence at Villa Ariadne, near Knossos, to his headquarters near Heraklion. As the two mock Germans stopped the car as part of a routine checkpoint, with Leigh Fermor speaking solid German, the general was seized, the driver knocked out and the car commandeered. After a long trek through goat trails in the mountains, hiding out from the enraged Germans, the group was finally picked up and conveyed to Cairo. It was an amazing abduction and rescue, offering the valiant Cretans renewed hope for liberation.

An exciting, earnestly narrated World War II story.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-46013-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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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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