The story of an Israeli Jew's experiences as a mole inside Germany's radical right. In September 1992 Svoray was an out-of-work fortune hunter and sometimes journalist searching Germany for diamonds stashed and then lost by an American GI 37 years before. By accident, this quixotic hunt led Svoray to an aging neo-Nazi who took a liking to him and became his conduit to the German far right: unrepentant Nazis from the Third Reich, murderous young skinheads, and modern right-wing ideologues and politicians. Svoray forgot the diamonds and became an investigator for the Los Angelesbased Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization established to combat anti- Semitism. Somehow, the neo-Nazis failed to penetrate Svoray's flimsy cover as a reporter for a nonexistent right-wing American publication and an advance man for a wealthy American looking to contribute to neo-Nazi movements. Further, Svoray managed to talk his way into right-wing strongholds in heavily accented English. Svoray and Taylor (A Necessary End, p. 131) tell the story of the Israeli's 18 months among the neo-Nazis. It is a fascinating, frightening, and revealing account, but one that is also badly flawed by the decision to write the book in the third person with Svoray as the hero/protagonist. The device turns In Hitler's Shadow into a tale of high adventure, complete with narrow escapes and moments of high danger, rather than investigative journalism. Svoray gathered important information about a movement that many critics charge has been paid insufficient attention by the German government, and the wide news coverage given Svoray's investigation may have contributed to Germany's recent crackdowns against neo- Nazis. (HBO will bradcast a tie-in movie in 1995.) An imperfect but riveting inside view of Germany's neo-Nazi movement and the dangers it presents. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 1994

ISBN: 0-385-47284-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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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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