A frankly partisan memoir that provides shrewd insights into both national politics and the state of the middle class.

A FIGHTING CHANCE

In this engaging memoir, Massachusetts Sen. Warren (co-author: All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan, 2005, etc.) introduces her family and recounts the battles that shaped her career as a teacher and politician.

Educated as a specialist in contract law, the author reshaped her career to become one of the country's leading experts in bankruptcy after the law was amended in 1981. Seeking to understand why people were going bankrupt in increasing numbers, Warren began to accumulate evidence contradicting the orthodox view that people seeking protection from creditors via the bankruptcy courts were deadbeats “who existed at the economic margins and would always be there.” She began to understand that bankruptcy was affecting ordinary middle-class people who found themselves unable to face the financial consequences of job loss, sickness or other personal catastrophes. These elements resonated within her own family: Her father lost his job and suffered repeated sicknesses, and her grandchildren have ongoing health issues. Warren pushed further to identify how credit-issuing institutions were taking advantage of consumers in manipulative ways. The expertise she developed led to a request for her to join the staff of a presidential commission on bankruptcy in 1995. The author uses her legal background, political knowledge gained from a succession of appointments involving bankruptcy law, an investigation into the financial crisis of 2008, and her proposal for a Consumer Finance Agency to provide intriguingly detailed information about the politics of bankruptcy, banking and credit. She introduces leading figures with whom her career has intersected, including Sen. Edward Kennedy and Congressman Barney Frank, and she shows how her continuing concerns with the financial plight of the middle class shaped her approach to the battles she felt called to fight. The book also covers her Massachusetts senatorial campaign.

A frankly partisan memoir that provides shrewd insights into both national politics and the state of the middle class.

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-6277-9052-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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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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