In the mid-1930s, as desperate Jews began to flee eastern Europe, Vishniac traveled to these countries and photographed the suffering and cruelty inflIn the mid-1930s, as desperate Jews began to flee eastern Europe, Vishniac traveled to these countries and photographed the suffering and cruelty inflicted by the Nazis. His pictures and stark commentary illustrate communities that completely vanished; only occasionally does he say a subject in a photo actually survived the Shoah.
My dad suggested I read this as he found it very moving. He was born in 1936 and it was only through good fortune and his grandmother's bravery that he and his parents were safe in New York and not trapped, as many of his family members were, in Hitler's camps and ghettos.
Most of Vishniac's notes on the photos are printed in the front of the book, which is a bit awkward for reference but allows you to be drawn into the world of people who were forcibly removed from a peaceful, middle-class existence into desperate poverty. As Vishniac says, the cities began to use human porters to deliver goods because they would work for food, while animals would not work until they were fed.
Everyone should spend an hour or two with this book. Every library needs a copy. ...more
If you want to be reassured about the safety of the world's nuclear stockpile, find another book. As General George Lee Butler said in the 1990s, "I cIf you want to be reassured about the safety of the world's nuclear stockpile, find another book. As General George Lee Butler said in the 1990s, "I came to fully appreciate the truth...we escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion." Butler was the newly appointed head of Strategic Air Command at the time and had recently reviewed the SAC's history and reports.
Eric Schlosser, whose "Fast Food Nation" encouraged Americans to rethink McDonalds, turned his formidable research skills on the U.S. nuclear program. He spent ten years studying the history of nuclear weapons and the Cold War and wrote a detailed but very readable account of our journey from the Manhattan Project and Hiroshima to detente to our current state, in which rogue nations are a little too close to unsupervised thermonuclear bombs.
This is not "The Day After," and Schlosser spends very little time on the real and imagined civilian horrors, the underground shelters, or the classroom duck-and-covers. His history is framed around a specific accident in Damascus, Ark., in 1980, and relays a story that illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of SAC and the Air Force.
"Command and Control" is not brief and it is not cheerful, but it is an important piece of journalism that will make you rethink your memories of the Cold War, and increase your appreciation for the military and civilian personnel who woke up every morning and supervised weapons that could have, but did not, destroy the world. Yet....more
I wanted to love this but I just liked it. The idea was to put together an anecdotal history of National Public Radio with short essays and remembrancI wanted to love this but I just liked it. The idea was to put together an anecdotal history of National Public Radio with short essays and remembrances from journalists and staff, but the book needed more shaping. The chapters are organized by decade and highlight major news events and NPR milestones. I was surprised that 9/11 got only a few pages, and the Challenger and some other major news events are not even mentioned. A large section is devoted to NPR's coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The book also could have been improved with some editing. The section about "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," refers to the "lightening round." Twice. Lots of misspellings and other typographical errors. The stories about the scrappy reporters were interesting but I would have preferred fewer self-references to scrappiness. I also am surprised at the mediocre writing considering this is a book about journalists.
The book only talks about NPR, so many shows that come from PRI and other organizations do not get a mention. The exception is "This American Life," which NPR refused to buy. Oops.
All that said, this is a fun book for NPR junkies; I would just skim it for the good stuff. The book came with a CD of a few historic broadcasts and I particularly appreciated the very first news report from All Things Considered, dated May 3, 1971, the day I was born....more