A poignant story that’s full of historical insight.

With You There Is Light

BASED ON THE TRUE STORY ABOUT SOPHIE SCHOLL AND FRITZ HARTNAGEL

Lehmann offers a historical novel based on the true story of young, Christian anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl.

As the German teenager grows into a young adult, her anti-Nazism swells, as does her romantic relationship with Fritz Hartnagel, a reluctant participant in the German army. She’s also an eyewitness to Nazi violence: “The police took fifty Jews out of their homes and ordered them into the empty fountain in front of the synagogue. They set it on fire. The police beat them.” After Nazi officials force her to go to a propaganda camp, she’s allowed to attend a university, where she and her brother help form the White Rose student resistance group and clandestinely distribute anti-Nazi flyers. During these years, Sophie and Fritz explore love, politics, spirituality, and morality through letters and brief visits while Fritz is on leave. His descriptions of the Russian front, camps, and ghettos strengthen Sophie’s anti-Nazi resolve and her understanding of moral complexities. Her Christianity is also a constant; even after she’s arrested and about to be executed on treason charges, “the pastor and Sophie read the psalm’s verses slowly and deliberately. When they finished, they looked at one another with a peace that surpassed all understanding.” Lehmann uses well-researched details and imagery and a variety of narrative voices to create vivid portraits in this novel. Readers witness the lives of both civilians and soldiers that opposed the Nazi regime: “[The soldiers] were confused and everything was uncertain….The cold incessant rain came in sheets now. Followed by black flies, gnawing on their skin.” The story of a young couple in love during wartime also unfolds gracefully: “[Sophie] wanted to take every detail of those hours and put them away in a box which she could always open. A place where the memories of the trees and flowers, the gardener, the birds, wouldn’t fade.”

A poignant story that’s full of historical insight. 

Pub Date: July 14, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 229

Publisher: L & L Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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