THE SECOND WORLD WAR, VOLUME 4

THE HINGE OF FATE

Nothing available in advance of finished books (as noted on P. 674) so this report is anticlimactic in view of the extensive reviews already released, which seem collectively to say what we were saying anyhow. That- in a military sense, this is the most interesting of the series for Americans, as the period covered-1942 and the first half of 1943- encompasses the disastrous defeats of our early months of war, and the turn of the tide in the Pacific, in North Africa. That- in a personal sense, it is less Churchill's book than the earlier ones, when he was centre-on, the stage chiefly Britain's and Britain always most dramatic in bitterest defeat. That it lacks the recurrent resounding phrase and what some called the purple passages, but is significant in its honesty of greatness, the willingness to say he was hasty or wrong. What emerges is a Churchill big in his sometimes reluctant cooperation; a Churchill perceptive of the widening rifts with Russia, a Churchill cognizant of the lack of balance in America's attitude towards China, a Churchill anxious to keep the difficult DeGaulle-Darlan -Giraud impasse from wrecking the North African operation. Some of his thumbnail sketches of personalities afford as brilliant characterization as he has ever written. Some of his brief and dramatic bits of narrative afford as absorbing reading as any he has written. And the armchair strategists will find his military analyses an indispensable contribution to viewing the war from another side than the one we are offered in American records. A sure best seller- as well as documentarily important.

Pub Date: June 15, 1950

ISBN: 0395410584

Page Count: 956

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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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