Readable and revealing, and the vividly re-created scenes cry out for film treatment.

THE DEEDS OF MY FATHERS

HOW MY GRANDFATHER AND FATHER BUILT NEW YORK AND CREATED THE TABLOID WORLD OF TODAY

Inside story of the controversial Italian-American family that gave us the Italian-language daily Il Progresso and the National Enquirer.

In writing this admiring account of his grandfather Generoso (1891–1950) and father Gene (1927–1988)—“two titans” who “changed America”—Pope relied on more than 500 interviews as well as extensive research done for several unpublished books on the family and its enterprises, including two projects commissioned and later aborted by his father. The result is a richly detailed tale of businessmen, mobsters and politicians that reads like a soap opera written by Mario Puzo. Beginning with Generoso’s arrival in New York in 1906, at age 15, with little money, the author tells a multigenerational story in which the immigrant started out as a laborer in Long Island’s sand pits, pursued his belief that “America is a place of dreams coming true” and created a hugely successful building-supply company during New York’s 1920s skyscraper boom. He received help from shady characters and shrewd operators, including mobster-friend Frank Costello and attorney Roy Cohn, who provided strong-arm and deal-making expertise in return for favors. The author writes that Gene later distanced the family from mobsters while making the Enquirer a national tabloid and ushering in the era of celebrity journalism. Patriarch Generoso emerges as a savvy opportunist who obtained dirt on his opponents to get his way. His favoring of like-minded Gene over two older sons created long-lived animosities within the family. Gene’s mother even told him, “You are the abortion I should have had.” Throughout the book, Pope provides engrossing stories about Il Progresso’s influence in New York and national elections, the long battle to win a place for the sensational Enquirer at supermarket checkouts and Gene’s tyrannical insistence on concocting gripping articles for the tabloid’s millions of readers. Also included are portraits of Mussolini, Frank Sinatra, A.J. Liebling, Carlo Tresca, Joe Bonanno and Joe Profaci.

Readable and revealing, and the vividly re-created scenes cry out for film treatment.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4422-0486-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Philip Turner Books/Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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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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