In 1988, Corman contributed an essay to the New York Times Magazine on his Bronx neighborhood, which he reprints here....



Corman (The Boyfriend from Hell, 2006, etc.) returns to the place he fictionalized in The Old Neighborhood (1980) in this affectionate recollection of his youth.

In the 1940s and ’50s, the Bronx was a safe, diverse and vibrant community. In short chapters, each just a few pages long, the author reminiscences about playing stickball and basketball, rooting for baseball teams, spending long afternoons at one of the neighborhood’s many movie houses, reading comic books in the local candy store, visiting the zoo, trying to learn to ice skate with a friend who wanted to impress a girl, and going to school. Corman was a middling student, good in English and history, struggling in math and science. He recalls with resentment the heartlessness of a few teachers. Although there is a generic quality to many of his recollections, his family life was far from ordinary: His father had abandoned him, his mother and sister when Corman was 5, and he was told while growing up that he was dead. Much later, his mother confessed the truth—that his father had failed financially, run off in shame and even pleaded with his mother to join him when he landed a job in the South. But she refused, and the couple divorced. Corman and his family lived with his aunt and uncle, who were deaf mutes. With no special interests or talents, the author decided to get a business degree with the goal of working in advertising. When he realized that the advertising industry would not hire a Jew from the Bronx, he turned to business writing and then to writing scripts for an educational film company. With the encouragement of a friend, he also worked on his first novel, Oh God!, which he published in 1971.

In 1988, Corman contributed an essay to the New York Times Magazine on his Bronx neighborhood, which he reprints here. Lively and concise, it contrasts with the bland and fragmented quality of the rest of the memoir.

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-56980-518-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Barricade

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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 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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