Exciting if journalistic description by Breuer (Geronimo!, Hitler's Undercover War, Sea Wolf—all 1989, etc.) of the vast superstructure of deception erected by the Allies to mislead Hitler about the focus of the D-Day invasion. Churchill called the deception, which succeeded in keeping huge German forces immobilized in Scandinavia and the Balkans, ``the greatest hoax in history'': As late as eight weeks after the Normandy invasion, the German Fifteenth Army was still waiting for a nonexistent attack in the Pas de Calais area from a nonexistent army of 1.5 million men under Patton's command. Meanwhile, an enormous force of more than 5,000 ships, 700 warships, and 150,000 men had been able to approach the Normandy beaches unobserved. No German leader expected the attack on the date it occurred, and Allied D-Day casualties, which had been expected to number more than 60,000, were in fact fewer than 12,000. Much of Breuer's material is familiar, including his discussion of the huge advantage given to the Allies by the breaking of the German codes, and of the control by British Intelligence of every German spy in Britain. But though the author relies almost entirely on previously published information, some of it is less familiar—for example, the covert buying of long-dormant Norwegian stocks and bonds in European financial centers, in order to suggest that Norway would be one focus of the Allied attack; and the extraordinarily thorough means by which, in the final days before D-Day, Britain closed itself down to prevent any last-minute leakage of information, a process that included opening diplomatic pouches and forbidding foreign diplomats to leave England. While Breuer can hardly pass a clichÇ without picking it up (diplomats are ``striped-pants bureaucrats'' and ``glamorous femme fatales'' like to ``snuggle up'' to British agents), he brings together the elements of deception in a compelling way, revealing more fully than individual narratives have done just how brilliant the Allied deception actually was. (Military Book Club Dual Selection for May)

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-275-94438-7

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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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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The value of this book is the context it provides, in a style aimed at a concerned citizenry rather than fellow academics,...


A provocative analysis of the parallels between Donald Trump’s ascent and the fall of other democracies.

Following the last presidential election, Levitsky (Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America, 2003, etc.) and Ziblatt (Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy, 2017, etc.), both professors of government at Harvard, wrote an op-ed column titled, “Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?” The answer here is a resounding yes, though, as in that column, the authors underscore their belief that the crisis extends well beyond the power won by an outsider whom they consider a demagogue and a liar. “Donald Trump may have accelerated the process, but he didn’t cause it,” they write of the politics-as-warfare mentality. “The weakening of our democratic norms is rooted in extreme partisan polarization—one that extends beyond policy differences into an existential conflict over race and culture.” The authors fault the Republican establishment for failing to stand up to Trump, even if that meant electing his opponent, and they seem almost wistfully nostalgic for the days when power brokers in smoke-filled rooms kept candidacies restricted to a club whose members knew how to play by the rules. Those supporting the candidacy of Bernie Sanders might take as much issue with their prescriptions as Trump followers will. However, the comparisons they draw to how democratic populism paved the way toward tyranny in Peru, Venezuela, Chile, and elsewhere are chilling. Among the warning signs they highlight are the Republican Senate’s refusal to consider Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee as well as Trump’s demonization of political opponents, minorities, and the media. As disturbing as they find the dismantling of Democratic safeguards, Levitsky and Ziblatt suggest that “a broad opposition coalition would have important benefits,” though such a coalition would strike some as a move to the center, a return to politics as usual, and even a pragmatic betrayal of principles.

The value of this book is the context it provides, in a style aimed at a concerned citizenry rather than fellow academics, rather than in the consensus it is not likely to build.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6293-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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