Newspaper syndication and LIFE magazine serialization have brought a generous proportion of the text of this second volume of Churchill's war memoirs to an eager public. Nonetheless, this — in the case of The Gathering Storm — seemed only to pique interest and curiosity. This second volume covers an intensely dramatic part of Britain's struggle, as France fell, the miracle of Dunkirk stirred the world, Italy entered on the side of Germany, England's strength was rebuilt from the bottom, the air war reached and passed its peak in the Battle of Britain, strength in the Mediterranean was reestablished, the African campaign turned to victory, the invasion of Greece by Italy posed a new problem, the U.S.A. and Britain drew closer together with the destroyer- air base deal and the establishment of Lend-Lease, and the Russian alliance with Germany passed into a dubious state. Churchill shares much that we did not know at the time:-the extent of knowledge of Germany's abortive plans for invasion, the foreknowledge of Hitler's decision to attack Russia, the "deal" with Spain, the hesitancy attendant on relations with the De Gaulle forces, the "leak" that resulted in disaster in west Africa. A careful comparison of the LIFE serialization with the finished book indicates that while a better job of editing has been done, there is still in the book a flavor or the Churchill who dominated the war years that the cutting has somehow lost. In a few instances, whole facets of the story have been omitted (non-essential to the flow, but interesting for rounding it out). In one instance- possibly more- LIFE has included material omitted from the book for reasons of policy, no doubt. An essential book for those who want the war from the inside in Britain. But for some indefinable reason, this second volume lacks the verve, the zest, the heady excitement of the first. Nonetheless, a sure best seller.

Pub Date: April 4, 1949

ISBN: 0395410568

Page Count: 724

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1949

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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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