A vital story, this memoir is also an instructive gift to future generations fighting for change.

BUSES ARE A COMIN'

MEMOIR OF A FREEDOM RIDER

A stirring memoir that offers a view of the legacy of the 1961 Freedom Rides on both micro and macro scales.

This dynamic narrative effectively demonstrates the circumstances that led to the Freedom Rides and serves as a reflection of what it means to belong in America, then and now. With the assistance of Rooker, Person (b. 1942) chronicles his journey in a way that testifies to the impressive character traits shared by the Freedom Riders, especially strength, determination, and unwavering dedication to equality. After enrolling at Morehouse College in 1960, Person became the youngest of the original 13 and the last to join the group. His perspective is that of an outsider becoming an insider, and he generously shares significant moments such as grappling with Klansmen in Atlanta and being attacked in Birmingham for sitting at a Whites-only counter. By recounting his inspiring youthful experiences, the author also creates a forceful call to action for readers to board their own literal or metaphorical buses: “The ride you accept, no matter the risk—in fact, because of the risk—may have the force to lift and uplift millions….Make the country better for those unborn who will never know the seat you took.” Person artfully weaves together the many characters and events of this tumultuous time, putting the pieces together for readers to fully understand the gravity of this “groundswell of change.” The depth with which the author examines not just his own story, but that of his fellow riders, gives a multifaceted perspective that clearly demonstrates why each was committed to the cause. The throughline for himself is clear, as he articulates early in the book his Papa’s advice to “do something.” By divulging the inner stories of his fellow riders, Person offers a unique and powerful aggregate view of events.

A vital story, this memoir is also an instructive gift to future generations fighting for change.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-27419-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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