A finely wrought, careful, and utterly damning case that ought to prompt a widespread reevaluation of both Ford and...

THE AMERICAN AXIS

HENRY FORD, CHARLES LINDBERGH, AND THE RISE OF THE THIRD REICH

Whisper an antiwar sentiment today, and you’re branded a traitor. Hinder the Allied war effort and champion the Nazi cause, as did a captain of industry and a pioneer of aviation, and you’ll be remembered as a hero.

So Wallace, a researcher for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Project, demonstrates in this eye-opening if sometimes circumstantial account of automaker Henry Ford’s and pilot Charles Lindbergh’s multifaceted dealings with the Hitler regime. Ford was singularly instrumental, Wallace charges, with Hitler’s rise; not only did Hitler and other Nazis credit their conversion to anti-Semitism in part to Ford’s scurrilous The International Jew, but Ford also funded the early Nazi party unstintingly and, knowingly or not, gave Nazi operatives access to manufacturing specifications and other documents at least until America entered the war. Hitler himself said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” not least for providing a model of mass production for the Nazi killing machine. Direct evidence of Ford’s financial role in bringing Hitler to power is scanty, Wallace writes, “a significant amount of the [Ford Motor] company’s early days—particularly material pertaining to Ford’s anti-Semitism” having been carefully discarded. Lindbergh, famed for his transatlantic solo flight, brought pseudoscientific theories of eugenics to his own admiration for the Nazi regime, and the Nazis reciprocated by depicting the blond, blue-eyed Lindbergh as the exemplar of Aryan manhood. Strangely, by Wallace’s account, both men seemed mystified when the Roosevelt administration did not court their services at the outbreak of WWII, on which occasion Ford remarked, “The whole thing has just been made up by Jew bankers.” Though Lindbergh served as a consultant to Ford in the development of the B-24 bomber, he was unable to gain a military commission—and for good reason, inasmuch as even in 1945 he was publicly lamenting the destruction of Germany, a civilization that “was basically our own, stemming from the same Christian beliefs.”

A finely wrought, careful, and utterly damning case that ought to prompt a widespread reevaluation of both Ford and Lindbergh.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-312-29022-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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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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Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

1776

A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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