Bosnia-Herzegovina to hate just about everybody.

ATATURK

THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE FOUNDER OF MODERN TURKEY

Turkish author Mango (Turkey: The Challenge of a New Role, 1994) draws upon official archives and international sources

to piece together a substantial biography of the father of modern Turkey. The "Young Turk" Mustafa Kemal Ataturk rose to prominence fighting the Allies in WWI, distinguishing himself at Gallipoli and Syria and outpacing his rivals to take command of the armed forces. But it was his shrewd, patient politics that made him the savior of his defeated country, as he pitted the overextended Allied occupiers against themselves and eventually drove out the French, the British, the tenacious Italians, and—worst of all from the Turkish point of view—the Greeks. Under Ataturk’s direction, the moribund Ottoman Empire (which in the 17th century had extended to the very gates of Vienna but by the outbreak of WWI was renowned as the "Sick Man of Europe") gave way to a modern parliamentary state. Ruthless, certainly, and vain (but also logical, idealistic, and visionary), Ataturk took steps to revive a war-ravaged economy, consolidated his decimated military, extended suffrage to women, and advocated the equal treatment under the law of Greek and Jewish minorities. Though Turkey is heavily Islamic, he insisted upon the separation of church and state. In his revolutionary zeal Ataturk sometimes brought to mind the excesses of the French Revolution—he banned fezzes and turbans, for instance, and mandated the adoption of European-style hats—but he modernized and stabilized Turkey, and there is an active cult devoted to him among his countrymen today. Mango barrages the reader with details, yet he is never dry. He paints an admiring portrait of a political genius and, in the process, goes a long way in explaining why history has caused Greeks to hate Turks, Turks to hate Greeks, and the citizens of

Bosnia-Herzegovina to hate just about everybody.

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-58567-011-1

Page Count: 666

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more