A condensation of the historical record that will appeal most to Baier’s fans.



The third in a presidential trilogy by the Fox News host spotlights another telling moment of executive leadership—in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s case, the decision, made in November 1943, to embark on an invasion of Normandy.

Admitting he is not a historian, Baier (Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire, 2018, etc.) takes on one of the most written-about personas in history, offering his “personal journalist’s spin on the great events of Roosevelt’s day.” Essentially, he delivers a highly admiring biography that breaks no new ground, using the three days at Tehran, “that vital conference,” as the apotheosis of his leadership—when he took a chance on Joseph Stalin, whose country’s might was deemed necessary to turn the tide of war against the Nazis. Baier builds the narrative with a spirited account of FDR’s life, the details of which are well known. Though his mother coddled him, she was also dedicated to his intellectual and emotional growth. As the author writes, awkwardly, “as was the case with so many presidents, Franklin Roosevelt’s mother was the wind beneath his expansive wings.” FDR’s rise in politics was temporarily slowed by polio, but even that could not defeat his spirit. “It strengthened him,” writes Baier, “as if he had been waiting all his life for a challenge large enough for his ambitions.” Within this “crucible,” FDR became a vital leader just in time to help lead the faltering nation out of the Depression. By the time FDR forged his partnership with Churchill, Roosevelt was at the top of his game, a war president who had supreme confidence in his persuasive abilities. Meeting Stalin for the first time face to face had been a hard-won charm offensive, and agreeing to stay in the Soviet Embassy compound (knowing it was bugged) confounded the British even as it disarmed the Soviets. The campaign to hammer out the cross-channel invasion had begun.

A condensation of the historical record that will appeal most to Baier’s fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-290568-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



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

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