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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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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