SEASONS IN HELL

UNDERSTANDING BOSNIA'S WAR

An angry, impassioned book from a journalist who has seen the Bosnian conflict at its worst. Vulliamy has been covering the war in the former Yugoslavia for the Guardian, winning several awards for his reportage, much of which has gone into this volume. After a pungent historical summary of the troubled nationalities that make up the population of former Yugoslavia, Vulliamy plunges readers headlong into a nightmarish war in which 85% of the dead are civilians, a war stained by concentration camps and genocidal violence. He describes a conflict in which a multiethnic Bosnian state has been caught in a territorial vise between two vicious and unprincipled neofascist states, one Croatian and one Serb; both, he says, are rabidly nationalistic and want to ``re-establish their ancient frontiers with modern weaponry in the chaos of post-communist eastern Europe.'' He describes formerly Muslim villages now ``gutted, charred and lifeless''; concentration camps full of men with skeletal bodies, ``alive, but decomposed, debased, degraded.'' Vulliamy harshly criticizes diplomatic cynicism, referring to the behavior of the European Community, the Russians, and the US as nothing less than a Munich-scale appeasement that has allowed the Serbs and Croats to blackmail, lie, and wheedle their way toward the dismemberment of Bosnia. He makes no effort to hide his distaste for the politicians who engendered the butchery or the diplomats who made it possible. The reporting and the writing are comprehensive and moving, and it is hard to imagine anyone coming away from this volume not feeling enraged and dismayed by events in Bosnia. If readers are seeking an objective and detached history of this conflict, this is the wrong book. However, it is one of the best books to date on the Bosnian tragedy. A powerful and important volume.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-312-11378-1

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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...

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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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