A tantalizingly novelistic history lesson.



A distinguished cultural studies scholar explores the web of intrigue surrounding the infamous Ciano Diaries.

Before he became famous for condemning the Third Reich and its leaders, Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944) was better known as Mussolini’s playboy son-in-law and foreign minister. In her latest elegant book of European cultural history, Mazzeo offers a colorful account of Ciano and Mussolini, the affairs and double-crosses that surrounded the diaries, and the courageous women whose efforts saved the manuscripts for posterity. Ciano began keeping diaries about Hitler’s inner circle in 1939, the year he started to question the war in Europe and the Third Reich’s alliance with Italy. Though in the service of a dictator, Ciano realized Mussolini’s involvement with Germany would be Italy’s downfall. So he turned to his journals, where he expressed his virulent disgust with the Third Reich and recorded “the political squabbles” between men like Himmler and Goebbels who “vied for power and influence with Hitler.” By 1943, the foreign minister, who gossiped shamelessly about his diary, had become a liability to the Third Reich. The Germans then sent a beautiful, young, married spy to learn the location of the journals, which Ciano had hidden before using them as collateral for a passage into exile. Little went according to plan. The spy fell in love with Ciano and turned double agent for the Allies. In that role, she developed an unlikely alliance with Ciano’s wife, Edda, and an American socialite to protect as much of Ciano’s manuscript—portions of which still ended up in German hands—for postwar publication in the U.S. Intelligent and compelling, Mazzeo’s probing book delves intriguingly into the “moral thicket” into which a group of strangers found themselves plunged during the long, dark days of World War II.

A tantalizingly novelistic history lesson.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-538-73526-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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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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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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