One of the deepest and most disturbing investigations of one of the defining issues of our era.

THE LONGEST WAR

AMERICA AND AL-QAEDA SINCE 9/11

A revelatory, pull-no-punches history of the War on Terror, from before 9/11 to the present day.

CNN national security analyst and journalist Bergen (The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader, 2006, etc.) takes a critical look at all phases of the conflict between the West and al-Qaeda. Drawing on an impressive range of both Western and Islamic sources, the author examines the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the jihadist movement, most importantly as exemplified by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden’s charismatic appeal arises in part from conscious emulation of the prophet Muhammad, writes Bergen, even as early as his joining the fight to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. In particular, his personal asceticism, maintained in spite of his great wealth, gives him credibility with the disaffected of the Islamic world and makes it easy for him to recruit candidates for suicide missions. But Bergen argues that bin Laden’s greatest triumph was also the ruination of al-Qaeda, making him the target of the most relentless manhunt of our time and forcing his followers to the margins of civilized society. At the same time, the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 was deeply flawed; the failure to close the trap on bin Laden at Tora Bora left him and his organization free to continue the fight against the West. Then, the Iraq war, against a country that had no part in 9/11, cost the United States an unprecedented level of international support, especially as the Bush administration abandoned the Geneva Convention in its treatment of prisoners. Bergen looks at the lessons learned on both sides of the war, notably the U.S. military’s rediscovery of one of the lessons of Vietnam: Small units working closely with the indigenous population can achieve what large concentrations of conventional force cannot. The author concludes that, simply by surviving so long, bin Laden has created a movement likely to carry on his brand of anti-Americanism for the foreseeable future.

One of the deepest and most disturbing investigations of one of the defining issues of our era.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7432-7893-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more