The Crisis of the Old Order, (1957) which launched this monumental assessment of a relatively contemporary era in American social, political and economic life, was an epitaph to a period which ran its opulent but progressively more ruinous course from 1919-1933. Upon that sustained and anguished epitaph — though independent of it- Schlesinger, probably the one historian who most fully realizes the structural and organic values of 20th century American history, recounts the tumultuous years of Roosevelt's first term. He analyzes the solid facts of Rooseveltian legislation, the cabinet personalities, and the kinds of administrative youngbloods surging upon Washington, the methods and tasks of economic recovery, the social the massive reorganization of labor, agriculture and Wall Street. But if Schlesinger details abundantly the circumstances, individuals, policies which signalized the early New Deal, he expresses, above all, the inspiring and inspiriting sense of rededication which came over the United States, the moral torments and gronings toward a new social conscience, the yielding of regionalism and the regional mind to the interests of the country as a whole, within a widening circle of the world community. Conservatives may feel that as a historian, Schlesinger's weakness is a tendency towards clutter, a lack of sensitivity in an indulgence toward trivial information which has comparatively little earnest relevance. They may even feel he is neither tidy nor consistent. But his great gift is in not letting the meaning and the magnificence of events be carried away by their own rushing and violent, tide. Schlesinger seizes and epitomizes, as perhaps no other American historian, the wonder and the consequence of his subject. The evolution of a president, the complexity of a man, come through with extraordinary perception. The Coming of the New Deal is impelling, an achievement as much in its sensitivity as in its scholarship. The selection as January Book of the Month (and for this reason postponed from its original December publication date) will give it the impetus it deserves. But on its own merits it is essential reading for this and any period and season.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 1958


Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1958

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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 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...


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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