I REMEMBER

An immensely appealing remembrance of things past from the anchor of CBS-TV's Evening News. A Texan and proud of it, Rather (who turns 60 next Halloween) grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Houston during the height of the Depression and WW II. His hard-working father was gainfully employed (no mean feat in those hard times) as a ditch digger for a local pipeline company. Consequently, the Rathers had money enough for life's necessities, albeit never in abundance. By the author's elegiac account—told with the help of veteran author Wyden (Wall: The Berlin Story, 1989, etc.)—the extended family also had true grit and love to spare. While paying graceful tribute to parents, relatives, friends, and other influences, Rather offers an episodic and anecdotal account of his formative years. In addition to the sympathetic adults who encouraged him to stay in school with glimpses of a wider world, he credits the instinctive independence of the Rather clan with putting him on the road to success. During the pre-TV era when young Dan was coming of age, newspapers and radio were the only media. Print and broadcast reports of epic battles in faraway places with strange-sounding names were the first source of Rather's youthful aspirations to become a foreign correspondent. The obvious misery of the jobless and dispossessed also appears to have given his outlook an endearingly populist spin. In the meantime, the author experienced the joys, sorrows, and occasional hard knocks (including a year in bed with rheumatic fever) of a boyhood that, if a bit too impoverished to qualify as idyllic, was at least marked by more highs than lows. A prominent American's vivid and sensitive recollections of his deep roots in a past that is now all but beyond recall. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-316-73440-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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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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