A well-crafted life of a man who, though now largely out of the spotlight, enjoyed a storied career.

EARL CAMPBELL

YARDS AFTER CONTACT

Thoughtful portrait of the 1977 Heisman Trophy Winner and 1991 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Earl Campbell (b. 1955), writes Austin American-Statesman reporter Price (Year of the Dunk: A Modest Defiance of Gravity, 2015, etc.), was a force of nature on the field, “a modern John Henry, the heroic and tragic figure of a hard-working, plow-straight-ahead man who worked himself into a broken-down condition by giving it his all—his body an atlas of the brutality of the game.” Born in small-town Texas, Campbell always had “country manners” that led some to think of him as a bumpkin, which he answered with a stiff arm and phenomenal moves on the field that led many students of the game to consider him one of the greatest players ever. Campbell was a fearsome player who graced the campus of the University of Texas, once a bastion of segregation, at a time when Austin was emerging as a perhaps unlikely capital of hippiedom. Price’s portrait of a town where “on game days in the parking lot of Mother Earth, a club not far from campus, you could barter football tickets for weed” is nicely detailed, and it’s telling that as part of his rookie hazing on the roster of the Houston Oilers, Campbell sang “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up To Be Cowboys.” Price knows his sports, and he writes well about such things as the Landry Shift—“a beat after taking their stance…the offensive linemen, in unison, would stand and reset”—and Campbell’s considerable skills as a running back. More than that, he discusses Campbell’s college and pro careers against the backdrop of racism that accompanied the “shift from crew cuts to Afros” of which he was a part, considering himself to be a champion of racial reconciliation who had the outward demeanor of a “smiling athlete" but was altogether serious.

A well-crafted life of a man who, though now largely out of the spotlight, enjoyed a storied career.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4773-1649-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Univ. of Texas

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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