AUDREY HEPBURN

An extended valentine to an actress we've all fallen in love with at least once. While many actors fail to live up to their publicity, Audrey Hepburn seems, by all accounts, to have been as genuinely charming, and stylish, and wistful, and kindhearted as she appears on-screen. Of course, life wasn't always kind. There were two divorces, miscarriages, professional disappointments, and unsettled memories from her childhood in wartime Holland. But mostly, she enjoyed herself well enough, playing mother to her children and a succession of adored dogs, tending her own garden in her Swiss retreat, and doing good-will work for UNICEF. Movies were all right as far as they went, and though she made a few classics such as Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany's, she had no overwhelming passion for them (like Garbo, she made only 26 films). Despite winning an Oscar for Roman Holiday, she was not a particularly gifted actress, best suited, like John Wayne, to playing versions of herself. But she had presence and style, and with the able assistance of the designer Givenchy, defined fashion for almost a generation. Whether this all adds up to an interesting biography is another question. Hepburn herself once declared, ``There's never been a helluva lot to say about me.'' Veteran Hollywood biographer Paris (Garbo, 1995, etc.) does his unlevel best to prove her wrong, but he is only partly successful. He is too much the fan, too much in awe of ``Audrey.'' Paris rarely goes even as deep as an attempt to capture the evanescence of a screen persona, preferring instead the appointment-book surety of times and places and people. Still, all the facts are in the proper places, pleasantly displayed, and easily accessible, and that's more than can be said for most show-biz bios. (b&w photos, not seen) (First serial to Vanity Fair; Book-of-the-Month Club selection)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-399-14056-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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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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