Strongly written with the stern clarity of senior historians, this is a spellbinding history: the reader will hear the whine...

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A WAR TO BE WON

FIGHTING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, 1937-1945

A magisterial, hypnotically detailed tactical narrative of WWII, with the competing military, political, and social histories of the maelstrom writ large—yet comprehensibly presented.

Coauthors Murray (Senior Fellow/Institute for Defense Analysis) and Millett (Military History/Ohio State Univ.) spent decades on their research, and the result is an essential plurality of understanding that allows them to consider the military strategies (and underlying realities) of the various Allied and Axis nations. Intentionally or otherwise, this book occupies ground distinct from Stephen Ambrose’s popular books, in that they focus much less on the personalized experiences of the soldier and more on the significant strategies, decisions, and movements of governments and generals (and the corresponding actions of the many individual naval, combat, and bomber units, and sundry partisan and espionage triumphs) which, taken together, form the artificial patchwork of industrialized devastation we think of as “the war.” Surprisingly, this “globalized” perspective does not produce abstract or diffuse results, but allows the authors to present a nuanced panorama of scarce information and unique interpretations. Offering equal weight to both the European and Pacific theaters, and connecting the complex, sometimes counterproductive Allied campaigns and the Axis military actions and ideology with the weight of human tragedy and societal disruption fomented in the occupied nations (and especially the Eastern Front), Murray and Millet allow one to simultaneously understand a distant historical event as technological warfare and as the 20th century’s cruel pivot. Broad canvas notwithstanding, the authors wisely rely upon important (and often obscure) primary sources, including combatant and survivor recollections, to add thoughtprovoking dialogues to the survey. And their inclusion of political and social interpretation clarifies the mystery of whole peoples’ motivation towards a “total war” that demolished peoples and national entities.

Strongly written with the stern clarity of senior historians, this is a spellbinding history: the reader will hear the whine of the bombers and see the guttering lights of Europe, and find this rich assemblage of horror and destiny hard to set down.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-674-00163-X

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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