Most interesting to aspiring organic farmers.

A FARM DIES ONCE A YEAR

A MEMOIR

A down-to-earth account of life on New Morning Farm, to which Crawford, the rather aimless son of the owners, returned for one season, searching for some direction in his own unsatisfactory life.

When he was 31, Crawford, who grew up on the family’s 75-acre organic vegetable farm in Pennsylvania, gave up his administrative job at the Fogg Museum at Harvard, arriving at New Morning in late May. After a shaky beginning, the author joined the other farm workers in their physically demanding daily chores. “The place had always made me a little anxious,” he writes. “It was so isolated and lonely, and the work there was so intense.” Woven into this almost-coming-of-age narrative are Crawford’s memories of growing up on the farm and what he has learned about his parents’ early days there. For part of the season, his amiable girlfriend, who seemed somewhat more challenged by farm life than he, joined him, sharing a rude shelter he single-handedly built for them some distance from the main farmhouse. In his spare time, Crawford looked into the murder of a neighboring farmer that occurred nearly 20 years before. Crawford’s account of the work on the farm is matter-of-fact and clear, and his portraits of his hardworking, middle-aged parents are sharp. When he looks inward, however, the picture is more opaque. In the fall, his girlfriend left the farm for San Francisco, and shortly after Christmas, he joined her there, working in a natural foods store, still not sure where his life was going or even where he wanted it to go. “I still hadn’t solved the problem of what I wanted to do with my life,” writes the author. “I was coming to the realization that it would probably be with me forever, and that it was a problem that I likely shared with every other person on earth.”

Most interesting to aspiring organic farmers.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9816-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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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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