A focused and timely study of Eisenhower’s significant speech and the sticky transition to JFK’s inherited new world.

THREE DAYS IN JANUARY

DWIGHT EISENHOWER'S FINAL MISSION

A sobering return to Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address, arriving just before our own moment of uncertain presidential transition.

Eisenhower was a paradox: a former supreme commander devoted to peace who managed to keep the country out of war for eight years and left a haunting warning in his final televised speech on Jan. 17, 1961, that the United States had become a “permanent war-based industry.” With co-author Whitney, Fox News host Baier (Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love, 2014, etc.) brings new relevance to Eisenhower’s parting message to the young, relatively inexperienced new president, John F. Kennedy. The author explores Eisenhower’s last days in office, especially his sense of needing to prepare JFK for the “fate of the civilized world” and brace him against the military-driven mindset. Unlike his relations with his own predecessor, Harry Truman, which were strained and chilly, the World War II hero came around to respecting the glamorous young senator despite their vastly different backgrounds and his inglorious defeat of Richard Nixon. In the 1960 campaign, Kennedy had run on the “missile gap” between the U.S. and Soviet Union—the Soviets had launched the world’s first artificial satellite—which Eisenhower knew was “a clever, yet devious, tactic.” It was also misleading, since both countries had enough nuclear weapons to leave the world “a moonscape of radioactive ash.” This was Eisenhower’s message in his parting address, which is included in its entirety in an appendix: that industry had taken over the military; that bright retiring military people had gravitated to aerospace and other related industries; and that massive federal funding outlays were being granted for scientific-military research. As Baier notes, his speech warning of “unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex” proved enormously prescient even though it was not widely reported on at the time. Kennedy would learn this lesson quickly in the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

A focused and timely study of Eisenhower’s significant speech and the sticky transition to JFK’s inherited new world.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-256903-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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

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