Though having an episodic feel, Ollivier's account brims with a sojourner's passion and an insatiable hunger for new vistas...

OUT OF ISTANBUL

A LONG WALK OF DISCOVERY ALONG THE SILK ROAD

Ollivier takes us on an absorbing walking tour of the Silk Road, experiencing many of the same marvels and dangers as the ancient caravans.

Originally published in France in 2001, the book is the first installment chronicling the author’s arduous three-stage journey on foot from Istanbul to the former imperial Chinese city of Xi'an. Ollivier, then 61, began his trek through Turkey in 1999, planning to end the initial stage in Tehran. Firmly believing that walking is the only form of transportation that allows us to connect with cultures and individuals on a fundamental level, the author refused all offers of a ride—until he had no choice. Endlessly curious, Turkish villagers were amazed that anyone would actually walk the breadth of their country, and they barraged him with questions at every stop. Paranoid soldiers and arbitrary constables were more suspicious and aggressive. Ollivier spoke little Turkish, but given Muslim custom, he enjoyed the most extraordinary generosity and hospitality through much of his route. Still, the perils of solo travel, especially hiking through a country torn by armed conflicts and beset with banditry, surfaced the farther east he walked. With determination battling doubt, the author traversed daunting distances on a daily basis, often in mountain country. A fierce attack of amebic dysentery near the Iranian border brought him up short, though he does offer snippets of Silk Road history and longer expositions on Turkish and Kurdish traditions. Ollivier occasionally comes across as judgmental, though not without cause. He romanticizes or overstates certain points, yet he admits to Western prejudice and imperfect understanding. As fascinating as his odyssey can be, this English-language edition suffers from observations on Turkish politics and culture that are 20 years old—fine for timeless village life but lacking for the nation as a whole.

Though having an episodic feel, Ollivier's account brims with a sojourner's passion and an insatiable hunger for new vistas and peoples.

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4375-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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