An eloquent, provocative, and timely memoir.



A noted Palestinian journalist links her story as a woman born to subvert social norms to the story of her rebellious birthplace, Gaza.

Born in the Rafah refugee camp in 1982, al-Ghoul’s “strong-minded” ways manifested by age 5, when she yelled at a taxi driver for driving off with a favorite hat. The author's outspokenness eventually made her, in the eyes of both men and women, an inappropriate match for the young men she loved. Because she was under near-constant surveillance by the Muslim community and a family that, on her father's side, had close ties to Hamas, Gaza became a place of contradiction for her. While it surrounded the author in warmth, it also made her “suffer.” In 1990, she and her family moved to the Emirates, where, immersed in a Pan-Arabic culture, al-Ghoul witnessed how people spread an oppressive, “obscurantist model” of Islam that eventually made it back to individual Arab countries. She also watched as Yasser Arafat pledged allegiance to Saddam Hussein, which provoked outrage among Emirati authorities toward Palestinians. When al-Ghoul was 16, the family returned to Gaza. Told to cover herself and limit her interactions with boys, she became rebellious. Her father threatened to cut off fees if she attended a secular university; unwilling to bend to his wishes, she took a job to support herself and began to write. As a journalist who critiqued not only Israeli occupiers, but also Hamas—including the uncle she held responsible for killing members of the rival Fatah party, which she also opposed—the author quickly earned the reputation as a “corrupt [and] indecent woman” and became the target of death threats. That her personal life included marriages to and divorces from two Arab intellectuals only added fuel to the controversy surrounding her. Fierce and defiant, al-Ghoul’s book is as much a celebration of Gazan resilience in the face of raging internal and external conflicts as it is of one woman’s life-affirming strength of will.

An eloquent, provocative, and timely memoir.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9987770-5-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: DoppelHouse Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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