A gripping account of an underdog partnership that made racing history.

MAGNA TERRA SMOKY

A woman and an anxious horse take the racing world by storm in Jagoda’s debut memoir.

Magna Terra Smoky was a frightened Arabian colt whose chances of becoming a winning racehorse seemed slim. However, despite his general mistrust of people, he went on to become a racing legend. The author’s memoir opens with her impulsive but life-changing decision to acquire the Colorado horse as a racing prospect in 1988. Neither of them had experience on the track, but Smoky still won his first race the next year. As the bond between the steed and the author grew, Smoky gained self-confidence that would drive his decadelong career. Refreshingly, this memoir isn’t a formulaic story of a horse and rider beating the odds. Unlike other, similar books, it doesn’t focus solely on the animal, and the author’s own story is just as compelling. Jagoda writes with a richness that makes the work read like a novel, building suspense and delivering unpredictable twists. The pair raced at top tracks from California to Delaware, often confronting entrenched politics and sexism. In 1990, the author says, racing officials underreported Smoky’s winnings, which robbed him of his right to the prestigious Darley Award. Readers also learn the toll that the racing industry can take on one’s personal relationships, financial stability, and health. After the author had two accidents involving other horses, which resulted in two broken arms, Jagoda persuaded a friend to saw off one cast so that she could keep training Smoky. At one point, she helped the horse heal from life-threatening injuries—one of which left the animal disfigured and disadvantaged as a racehorse. Still, Smoky retired with 50 wins in 120 starts, and in 100 of them, he placed in the top three—including his final race. Crowned the “richest racing Arabian of all time” in 1994, Smoky was inducted into the Arabian racing hall of fame. Black-and-white snapshots, letters, and old news clippings lend a homespun sweetness to a book that will appeal to young readers and adults. Hollywood, if you’re listening: This could possibly be the next Eighty-Dollar Champion.

A gripping account of an underdog partnership that made racing history.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4907-9185-2

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: July 27, 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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