Book Reviews

Book Review

The Reichstag Fire, 68 years on

Alexander Bahar, Wilfried Kugel: Der Reichstagbrand - Wie Geschichte gemacht wird (The Reichstag Fire - How History is Created), edition q, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-86124-523-2, 864 pages, price: 68.00 DM

5 July 2001

On February 27, 1933—more than 68 years ago—the Berlin Reichstag, the seat of Germany’s parliament, was set on fire. Shortly after the fire began, the Dutch left-wing radical Marinus van der Lubbe was arrested at the scene of the crime, apparently as the sole culprit.

How IBM helped the Nazis

IBM and the Holocaust By Edwin Black, Little Brown, ISBN 0-316-85769-6, Hardback, £20

27 June 2001

IBM and the Holocaust tells the story of the involvement of this major US corporation in the establishment of Hitler’s Third Reich and the destruction of European Jewry.

The far-right Austrian Freedom Party under the magnifying glass

Hans-Hennig Scharsach/Kurt Kuch: Haider—Schatten ueber Europa("Haider—A shadow over Europe"), Kiepenheuer und Witsch 2000

30 April 2001

Since Jörg Haider and his rightwing Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) have increasingly won influence, and have even sat in a national government coalition with the Conservative People's Party (ÖVP) for over a year, journalists and writers have been busy analysing their ascent. The book by Hans Henning Scharsach and Kurt Kuch, both editors of the Austrian weekly magazine NEWS, is an important contribution to this subject.

"Ulbricht's helpers": the role of Hitler's army generals in former East Germany

By Hendrik Paul, 25 April 2001

Anti-fascism was always one of the myths of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Fascism had been wiped out root and branch in the GDR, according to the history textbooks there. It was something that was proclaimed at every opportunity by the party and government leadership in official statements, and which is repeated today, and not just by nostalgics.

De-Stalinisation and the German Democratic Republic

Die Architekten (The Architects), by Stefan Heym, Bertelsmann Verlag, 2000

By Peter Schwarz, 23 February 2001

Stefan Heym's newly published novel The Architects tells the story of the married architect couple Arnold and Julia Sundstrom in the German Democratic Republic (GDR—East Germany) in 1956.

Child victims of the industrial revolution

Orphans of History—The Forgotten Children of the First Fleet by Robert Holden The Text Publishing Company 1999, ISBN 1- 8758477 -08-1

By Erika Zimmer, 20 February 2001

Robert Holden is an art historian and an authority on children's literature. The main focus of his recently published Orphans of History—The Forgotten Children of the First Fleet, is nine-year-old John Hudson, one of the child convicts transported from Britain to Australia over two centuries ago. Holden's achievement is that he has been able to transform what had been a government statistic into a clear and sympathetic picture of Hudson, a former London chimney-sweep, and reveal some of the social conditions facing working class children in Britain's industrial revolution.

Le Carré's new novel questions his previous Cold War certainties

John le Carré's The Constant Gardener, Hodder and Stoughton, £16.99 ISBN 0-340-7337-3

15 February 2001

John le Carré's latest novel The Constant Gardener tells the story of Justin Quayle, a British diplomat—and the constant gardener of the title—who after the murder of his wife devotes himself to tracking down her killers. It is a simple enough theme, but le Carré develops it into a satisfying novel that deals with a highly topical topic—the giant pharmaceutical companies use of third world countries for drug testing.

The School Report: Why Britain's Schools are Failing — a book by Nick Davies

3 February 2001

The School Report presents an overwhelming case against Conservative and Labour Party education policy pursued from the 1980s to the present day. Written by investigative journalist Nick Davies, it brings together his articles, letters and comments serialised in the Guardian newspaper between September 1999 and July 2000.

Actual Innocence —case studies of DNA testing freeing the wrongfully convicted in the US

By Alden Long, 14 September 2000

Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted, by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld and Jim Dwyer. Doubleday, 289 pp., $24.95.

Justifying the role of imperialism in Africa

Aid to Africa: So Much to Do, So Little Done, by Carol Lancaster

By Ann Talbot, 4 August 2000

University of Chicago Press, 1999, ISBN: 0226468399

A liberal brief for militarism and neo-colonialism

Virtual War—Kosovo and Beyond

By Margaret Rees, 25 July 2000

Virtual War—Kosovo and Beyond, Michael Ignatieff, Metropolitan Books, New York, 2000, 246 pp., $23.00

The post-modernist wonderland: Intellectual Impostures by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont

By Stefan Steinberg, 1 July 2000

Intellectual Impostures should be read by all those who have an interest in modern ideological trends, in particular, the various somewhat nebulous schools of thought included under the hybrid term “postmodernism”.

Critique of Kosovo War urges European powers to unite against US

10 June 2000

Masters of the Universe? NATO's Balkan Crusade, Edited by Tariq Ali, Verso, 2000, ISBN 1-85984-269-0, £15 ($20 in US)

An account of American terrorism in Vietnam

By Patrick Martin, 6 June 2000

The Secret War Against Hanoi: Kennedy's and Johnson's Use of Spies, Saboteurs, and Covert Warriors in North Vietnam, by Richard H. Shultz, Jr., 1999, HarperCollins Books, New York

Galileo's Daughter: An important contribution to the history of science

By Walter Gilberti, 1 March 2000

Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, Walker & Co., ISBN 0802713432, 448 pp., $27.00

My century?

A review of Günter Grass' latest novel, Mein Jahrhundert (My Century)

By Wolfgang Weber, 8 February 2000

The 1999 Nobel prize for literature was given to 72-year-old Günter Grass. Prior to the award being announced, the author conducted well-attended public readings in a number of German cities. He read from his latest work—My Century —a fictional review of the last hundred years. The book has been translated by Michael Henry Heim and is published in English by Harcourt and Brace, ISBN 015100496X, $25.

Getting away with corporate murder

Blood in the Bank: Social and Legal Aspects of Death at Work by Gary Slapper

24 January 2000

Introduction by Noam Chomsky, published by Ashgate Publishing in 1999 as part of the Advances in Criminology series, ISBN 1-84014-079-8, £50.00, 284 pp.

Strangeness and failure: Gish Jen's Who's Irish?

By Sandy English, 19 January 2000

Who's Irish? , by Gish Jen, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1999, 208 pp., $22.00

The plausible and the implausible in Carolyn Chute's Snow Man

By Sandy English, 3 December 1999

Snow Man, by Carolyn Chute, Harcourt, Brace & Co., New York, 1999, 242 pp. $23.00

The serious artist and the Cold War

By David Walsh, 3 November 1998

Anyone concerned about the fate of literature and society ought to welcome Don DeLillo's novel Underworld, a serious effort to trace out the impact on the American psyche of the Cold War.

A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr, Vintage Books, New York, 1996

A telling saga of cancer and the courts

By Book Review By Peter Stavropoulos, 21 February 1998

This book, though written as a gripping novel, is a true story. It chronicles the tortured history of a court case mounted against three major US companies. They were accused of dumping poisonous chemicals that caused leukaemia deaths and severe health problems among children and entire families in the town of Woburn, Massachusetts, just north of Boston.

Anti-Semitism, Fascism & the Holocaust

A critical review of Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners

By David North, 17 April 1997

The following was given as a lecture by David North, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States, at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The objective character of artistic cognition

By David Walsh, 13 September 1993

Edward Said, a Palestinian and a professor of literature at Columbia University in New York City, has set himself the task in Culture and Imperialism of offering "a history of the imperial adventure rendered in cultural terms."