A flawed but deeply personal recounting of one woman’s rise through the political ranks.

THE SENATOR NEXT DOOR

A MEMOIR FROM THE HEARTLAND

A comprehensive autobiography by the first female U.S. senator from Minnesota.

For anyone interested in the intricate details of how a young girl from Minneapolis made it to a seat in the Senate, Klobuchar (Uncovering the Dome, 1986) has written that book. Humorous at times, honest, and meticulously detailed, occasionally to a fault, the author unveils her entire life’s history with a slow, steady pace. She chronicles her grandparents’ immigrant status, her father’s rise through journalism and his troubles with alcohol, her mother’s years as a teacher and stay-at-home mom, her parents’ divorce, and how these events affected her early childhood. She discusses her school years, beginning with kindergarten, and takes readers up through high school, college, and law school. Once this preliminary history is out of the way, Klobuchar tackles her years in the law business, and she discusses a variety of cases she worked on with her colleagues. She also recounts her marriage to husband John and the birth and early health issues of her daughter, Abigail. She then moves into her political run for county attorney, which eventually led to her years as senator. Throughout the book, Klobuchar provides a wealth of daily minutiae—e.g., the day she was babysitting and hid a half-eaten bologna sandwich under the couch, that her wedding dress was a “sample,” and the sparring she encountered over moving some furniture in the county attorney’s office reception area. These facts add quaintness to the narrative but also bog it down. Still, Klobuchar provides an informative chronicle balanced between her personal and political lives, one that reflects the stance she took early in life to overcome any obstacles thrown her way and how she has used that same drive to surmount the numerous obstructions she has faced while serving as senator.

A flawed but deeply personal recounting of one woman’s rise through the political ranks.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-417-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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