RISE

MY STORY

The American alpine skier and former Olympian remembers the struggles and triumphs that marked her storied career.

Vonn was just 2 1/2 when her father first put her on skis. She tried other sports, but she discovered that no other activity came close to giving her the “speed, the power, the adrenaline [rush]” she adored. A hometown encounter with Olympic ski champion Picabo Street inspired Vonn deeply enough that by age 9 she declared her intent to ski in the 2002 Olympics. While her father steered her career, her family moved to Colorado so that Vonn could enroll in the best ski racing programs. Vonn gave up the social life other teens took for granted only to find that coaches dismissed her in favor of students like future fellow Olympian Julia Mancuso. Vonn used this lack of belief to fuel the relentless drive that saw her make the 2002 Olympic team. Still, despite this achievement, coaches continued to underestimate her abilities. Facing self-doubt and a host of personal problems, including depression and her parents’ unexpected divorce, Vonn fought her way to the World Cup circuit, which she dominated for more than a decade. But even as she won, Vonn faced new challenges. Some involved dealing with sexism in both the media and in the skiing world itself. Others involved her body and the many, sometimes devastating injuries that eventually ended her career. “I had tried—was still trying—everything I could,” she writes, “but I had reached a point where it was like I was skiing on one leg.” Vonn’s memoir is admirable not only for the way it portrays her ruthless will to succeed, but also for how it eschews “juicy gossip” about a much-publicized past. Fans of women’s sports and especially skiing will no doubt find the book satisfying.

A grittily candid memoir.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-288944-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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