HODDING CARTER

THE RECONSTRUCTION OF A RACIST

Workmanlike biography of the combative (but socially adept) editor/publisher of Mississippi's Greenville Delta Democrat-Times. Carter (1907-72) was hailed as a courageous integrationist by the eastern establishment (which awarded him a Pulitzer); criticized by blacks and progressive whites for supporting merely a more gentlemanly status quo; vilified as a ``nigger-lover'' and Communist by segregationists—and was still (as a Louisiana-born true southerner) invited to preside over the Delta Debutante Club Ball. Here, Waldron (Close Connections, 1987, etc.) offers few clues to the development of Carter's social vision (and one wonders just how much he was actually reconstructed), but her picture of the pre-civil-rights Deep South gives memory a salutary jolt: Carter's newspaper profoundly shocked white sensibilities by printing a photograph of black Olympic athlete Jesse Owens and by deciding that the black Red Cross chair deserved a courtesy title- -``Mrs. St. Hille'' rather than ``the St. Hille woman.'' Carter enjoyed a good fight: He took on demagogues like Huey Long and Theodore Bilbo with relish and invective, and his editorials excoriated white Mississippians for denying blacks decent education and protection under the law even as they reiterated his opposition to social equality. Financial struggles—more than politics- -repeatedly threatened the paper: Carter suffered from personal attacks, his youngest son's death, deteriorating eyesight, alcoholism, and, eventually, Alzheimer's. A Greenville booster, he was active with local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, as was his wife, Betty, who helped keep the paper going and was the uncredited coauthor of many of Carter's books. Waldron eschews both hero-making and debunking: readable if surfacey.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-945575-38-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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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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