If you’re a fan of rock music of whatever flavor, you needthis book.

LIGHTNING STRIKING

TEN TRANSFORMATIVE MOMENTS IN ROCK AND ROLL

Longtime Patti Smith Group guitarist and music journalist Kaye delivers an idiosyncratic, impassioned paean to rock ’n’ roll.

“You can’t be everywhere at once,” writes the author. True enough, but if he missed the Beatles at the Cavern Club or the first performances of Nirvana, Kaye has seen more than his share of shows. More, he has a Marcus-ian (Greil, that is, and not Herbert) depth of historical knowledge that enables him to enumerate the sightings of the very phrase rock ’n’ roll: one, perhaps improbably, in a gospel recording from 1910, a more secular one from 1922. Though a scholar of the many lightning-in-the-bottle moments of which he writes, Kaye is nothing if not an enthusiast; he hails the introduction to Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” rightly, as one of the most iconic guitar licks in history, adding, “please learn should you be in the vicinity of a C chord.” The author engagingly chronicles his wide travels, visiting New Orleans, London, Memphis, and many other places in search of lost and otherwise magical chords. He was there for some historically important moments, too, from the decline of the Sex Pistols to the rise of the Clash and the earliest stirrings of CBGB. Here, the writing turns distinctly autobiographical as Kaye recalls taking the stage with Patti Smith after grooving to the Ramones, “emulsifying rock and roll down to its primate, all downstrokes and lyrics one step removed from the asylum.” Frankie Avalon has a moment, as does skiffle, the latter of which begat the Beatles, which begat everything else—including, after 1964 and the Ed Sullivan Show, the magical moment when Kaye “bought a cherry red Gibson Les Paul Special and a Magnatone 280 amp (true vibrato, the same kind Buddy Holly played) from a kid down the street who had given up the calling” and jumped into the fray.

If you’re a fan of rock music of whatever flavor, you needthis book.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-244920-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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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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