FEUDING ALLLIES

THE PRIVATE WARS OF THE HIGH COMMAND

In a global history of the Grand Alliance, military historian Breuer (Race to the Moon, 1993, etc.) shows that the shouting war that raged among Allied leaders was in its way almost as violent as the shooting one with the Axis. Although Churchill was thankful when the US joined the war, Breuer shows that the British leader's relationship with his new ally was stormy and tense from the outset. Breuer also draws an ugly picture of mutual recriminations, insults, and prickliness between the disdainful British military brass and their sometimes volatile American counterparts. The British, in Breuer's portrait, viewed the Americans as military bumpkins, unversed in the arts of war; the Americans in their turn saw their transatlantic brethren as arrogant, wedded to imperial glories of the past, and insufficiently appreciative of America's importance in the war effort. The stormy alliance was mitigated somewhat by the usually friendly relationship between Churchill and Roosevelt, though they did not entirely trust each other. According to Breuer, Roosevelt wanted to invade Normandy at an early date, while Churchill, despite surface agreement, wanted the Allies to snap at the fringes of the Third Reich and wait for a Soviet victory. Stalin disliked and distrusted both his capitalist counterparts, whom he saw as class enemies, but was allied with Roosevelt because he favored an early front in France. Everyone hated the self-important de Gaulle, and Breuer implies that British agents may have actually attempted to kill him. In addition, interservice rivalries, especially between the US Army and Navy, threatened to derail the American military. These national, interservice, and interpersonal rivalries and enmities shaped the war effort, dictating everything from the ``Germany first'' policy of the Allies to the decision to invade France. An absorbing look at the impact of Alliance politics on the outcome of WW II.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-471-12252-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1995

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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