A page-turning account of the courageous actions of a woman recognized in 1985 by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

SUZANNE'S CHILDREN

A DARING RESCUE IN NAZI PARIS

Resurrected from obscurity, the life of a remarkable Brussels-born woman who used her prominent status in Nazi-occupied Paris to shelter orphaned Jewish children.

In a dogged work of research, Nelson (Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler, 2009, etc.), a playwright journalist who teaches at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, illuminates the brave and tragically short life of Suzanne Spaak, nee Lorge, whose dangerous work hiding and finding shelter for Jewish orphans during the war in Paris brought imprisonment and death in 1944. As the daughter of one of Belgium’s leading financiers, Spaak was in the right place when the Germans invaded in June 1940. Inhabiting a beautiful apartment in the Palais Royal full of artwork by the family’s protégé painter Renée Magritte, the Spaaks, though unofficially separated (her husband was living with another woman), were in a unique position to aid the Solidarité network, which provided aid to Jews being rounded up, arrested, and deported to concentration camps. It was Suzanne, however, who took her work helping with forged documents to a new and dangerous level, co-founding an organization called the National Movement Against Racism in 1941. Working with various churches, she and her colleagues knocked on doors to spread the word about the roundups, soliciting money from her rich friends and even her famous neighbor, Colette. In the many Paris orphanages, Jewish children were in constant danger of being rounded up, and Spaak did the underground work of creating papers for them and secreting them out to homes in the countryside. Spaak’s story is all the more poignant because of the role her own husband played in obscuring her legacy after the war, and Nelson does a valiant job of bringing together the complex threads of this story.

A page-turning account of the courageous actions of a woman recognized in 1985 by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-0532-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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