A condensation of the historical record that will appeal most to Baier’s fans.



The third in a presidential trilogy by the Fox News host spotlights another telling moment of executive leadership—in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s case, the decision, made in November 1943, to embark on an invasion of Normandy.

Admitting he is not a historian, Baier (Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire, 2018, etc.) takes on one of the most written-about personas in history, offering his “personal journalist’s spin on the great events of Roosevelt’s day.” Essentially, he delivers a highly admiring biography that breaks no new ground, using the three days at Tehran, “that vital conference,” as the apotheosis of his leadership—when he took a chance on Joseph Stalin, whose country’s might was deemed necessary to turn the tide of war against the Nazis. Baier builds the narrative with a spirited account of FDR’s life, the details of which are well known. Though his mother coddled him, she was also dedicated to his intellectual and emotional growth. As the author writes, awkwardly, “as was the case with so many presidents, Franklin Roosevelt’s mother was the wind beneath his expansive wings.” FDR’s rise in politics was temporarily slowed by polio, but even that could not defeat his spirit. “It strengthened him,” writes Baier, “as if he had been waiting all his life for a challenge large enough for his ambitions.” Within this “crucible,” FDR became a vital leader just in time to help lead the faltering nation out of the Depression. By the time FDR forged his partnership with Churchill, Roosevelt was at the top of his game, a war president who had supreme confidence in his persuasive abilities. Meeting Stalin for the first time face to face had been a hard-won charm offensive, and agreeing to stay in the Soviet Embassy compound (knowing it was bugged) confounded the British even as it disarmed the Soviets. The campaign to hammer out the cross-channel invasion had begun.

A condensation of the historical record that will appeal most to Baier’s fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-290568-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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