A highly readable portrait of an enigmatic politician.


A biography of the steely Israeli prime minister that underscores his relentless, seemingly emotionless competitive drive.

As a translation from the Hebrew, this account of Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s career is nicely fluent. Longtime Israeli journalist and newscaster Caspit, a senior columnist for Ma’ariv, Israeli’s leading daily, is unafraid of criticizing the extreme right-wing views and single-minded ambition of this problematic public figure. Several themes emerge from the author’s chronicle of Netanyahu’s formative years in Jerusalem. One of the most prominent is the extreme reverence his family had to pay to his studious, humorless father, Benzion, a scholar inculcated in the Revisionist Zionist ideology: right-wing, leaning toward the American Republicans, and uncompromising toward Palestinians, all of which eventually formed the backbone of the Likud Party and encapsulated his son’s own views. Caspit touchingly emphasizes Netanyahu’s devotion to his older brother, Yoni, a shining, handsome role model and elite Israel Defense Forces commando like Bibi who was cut down tragically during the Entebbe Operation in 1976. Perhaps the most important lifelong influence on Netanyahu was his early education in America (MIT and Harvard), which taught him to speak flawless English and, as his career in politics grew, court rich American Jews into bankrolling rightist Jewish interests and his own campaigns. With his good looks and pedigree, he became the “perfect poster boy for the Jewish community” and gradually worked his way into the Israeli embassy and then head of the Likud Party. He would be elected prime minister four times (1996, 2006, 2013, 2015), matching David Ben-Gurion’s record. Caspit focuses on Netanyahu’s ongoing stormy relationship with Washington, D.C., as he has firmly maintained that “Israel and America were equal players in the international arena” and seemed mystified whenever this was challenged—e.g., from President Barack Obama over Iran nuclear concessions.

A highly readable portrait of an enigmatic politician.

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08705-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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 19, 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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