THE SECOND WORLD WAR, VOLUME 3

THE GRAND ALLIANCE

Third in the four volume history of the war, and the one most intimately concerned with strategy and Britain's terrific responsibility in carrying on virtual global warfare single handed. A personal history as any book from Churchill's pen is sure to be he overrides the difficulties of the war in terms of its campaigns and planning for the layman. Pungent phrase, dramatic sense of values, a prose that marches — these stylistic factors make it good reading even when the subject matter seems tenuous and overdrawn. Throughout the text is spiced with his very personal views of men and events. There are superb tributes to a few, Harry Hopkins conspicuously among them, and, interestingly enough, the German general, Rommel. There's a very evident irritation against some of Britain's historic military figures, Wavell and Auchinleck, for instance, are now high, now low in his esteem. Of Wavell, some months before he was shifted to the Indian command, and Auchinleck put in his place, he writes:- "He gives the impression of being tired out". He blew hot and cold on Auchinleck, feeling him too cautious, too inclined to delay. Much of the argument that went on between the Admiralty, the home office, and the forces on the scene, is here told in detail for the first time. The handling of the Greek affair- the disaster in Crete- the African ports and the campaign of which Tobruk was the crux- the defense of Malta — all these come in for extensive off the record, in many cases, reporting. Few actual closeups- the Cretan campaign perhaps the closest to that- but an all pervading sense, on the part of the reader, of being at the heart of the matter. The revealing analysis of the difficulties with Stalin, the falsities of the public viewpoint, the burden of sharing from what was little enough, the lack of appreciation of the contribution made to the Soviet defense- all seems perceptive and prescient today. The book includes the inception of the Atlantic Charter, the historic meeting with Roosevelt, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Christmas visit of Churchill to the White House. These volumes from Mr. Churchill's pen constitute an important segment in source material on the Second World War. While this is not such easy reading as the two earlier volumes, there is an enormous amount of thrilling contemporary history encompassed in this period of victory beginning to seem possible out of disaster and defeat.

Pub Date: April 24, 1950

ISBN: 0395410576

Page Count: 853

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1950

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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