Goofball, genius or canny self-promoter? The jury is still out, but Shatner is indisputably a born storyteller.

UP TILL NOW

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Engaging recollections of an unrepentant ham actor who, by dint of a self-aware sense of humor, eagerness to please and sheer dogged persistence has earned the deep affection of legions of fans and cemented his status as one of the most recognized celebrities on the planet.

All the above qualities are fully evident in Shatner’s irreverent, amusing memoir, which leavens the expected silliness with startlingly candid and emotional passages about his chronic loneliness and the tragic drowning death of his wife Nerine. An undercurrent of sadness runs just beneath the surface of his whimsical anecdotes, revealing a man deeply anxious about financial security—which goes some distance toward excusing his apparently irresistible urge to plug his website and its memorabilia store—and strangely disconnected from his peers. (He was unaware of his Star Trek shipmates’ antipathy toward him until years after the show ended.) Shatner’s donkeylike work ethic resulted in an uncommonly rich and eventful career encompassing the golden age of classic television drama; countless roles on nearly every dramatic series of the ’60s and ‘70s; innumerable game shows, documentaries, commercials and specials; and ridiculously terrible movies like Incubus, infamous for its all-Esperanto dialogue. A late-in-life hot streak brought him an Emmy and Golden Globe for the slick dramedy Boston Legal, but the continuing global phenomenon of Star Trek will always be the most notable job on his resume. Shatner has funny and surprising things to say about it all, dishing on co-stars and marveling at a history that includes working with the likes of Spencer Tracy in Judgment at Nuremberg one day, a nude scene with Angie Dickinson in Big Bad Mama the next. Also included: accounts of bow hunting for bears, ill-advised paragliding and a puzzling defenses of his epically bemusing spoken-word album, The Transformed Man.

Goofball, genius or canny self-promoter? The jury is still out, but Shatner is indisputably a born storyteller.

Pub Date: May 13, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-37265-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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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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