A lucid, first-rate history of the results of a war whose beginning a century ago we are busily commemorating.

THE DELUGE

THE GREAT WAR, AMERICA AND THE REMAKING OF THE GLOBAL ORDER, 1916-1931

A vigorously defended argument that the war to end all wars was really the origin of a new world order and American superpower.

Taking a truly global view of World War I, Tooze (History/Yale Univ.; The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, 2007, etc.) holds that the conflict was Europe’s undoing in more ways than one. Obviously, it laid the groundwork for the global war to follow, but it also announced the arrival of an America that was able to act unilaterally on the world stage. The huge bloodletting also left the losing, and even some of the victorious, powers politically unstable. The author highlights Hitler, of course, but also Leon Trotsky as representatives of a sweeping change by which the war “opened a new phase of ‘world organization.’ ” What is novel about Tooze’s thesis is that, in this light, Hitler, Mussolini and the military leaders of Imperial Japan saw themselves as rebels against this new world order, which oppressed Germany financially and dismissed Italian and Japanese claims for rewards for their parts in defeating the Central Powers; all resented the notion that the terms of the transition to this new world order were dictated by the upstart United States. Interesting, too, is the author’s interpretation of America’s artful use of soft power, favoring political and economic influence over direct military intervention whenever possible. One negative consequence was Wilson’s negotiation of a “peace without victory” at the end of the war that promoted a subsequent instability made lethal with the worldwide economic collapse a decade later. In discussing what he calls “the fiasco of Wilsonism,” Tooze sometimes drifts into highly technical economic matters such as the mechanics of hyperinflation, but his narrative is gripping—and sobering, since readers well know the tragedies that followed.

A lucid, first-rate history of the results of a war whose beginning a century ago we are busily commemorating.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0670024926

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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