Given the author's previous reticence, fans of both bands will find this memoir revelatory.

READ REVIEW

CHAPTER AND VERSE

NEW ORDER, JOY DIVISION AND ME

A reticent British rock star opens up—a little.

The transformation of Joy Division, an influential cult band, into New Order, a phenomenally popular institution, is one of the most intriguing success stories in all of rock. With the 1980 suicide of frontman Ian Curtis, Joy Division had appeared to be over. Yet the remaining three members stayed together and changed their name and musical direction. Since then, they sustained a level of accomplishment and fan loyalty that transcends generations and that is beyond the expectations of its members. No one is better positioned to tell this story than Sumner, the guitarist who shifted sideways into Curtis’ role as singer and who became the primary motivator in the shift into the electronic dance music that has made New Order a popular mainstay. Yet Sumner has never attracted the cult of personality that Curtis did, and he has been reluctant to reveal much of himself, even after his boyhood friend and longtime band mate Peter Hook left the group, charging Sumner with taking too much control and the other musicians with simply following the leader’s orders. “I’ve gone into great detail here in order to set the record straight,” writes Sumner, though Hook has a different story (see his 2013 book Unknown Pleasures), as even Sumner’s account finds him taking more responsibility for the musical creation and direction, and the other members of New Order rarely seem more than bit players. The author’s family life as an adult receives even less mention, except for an occasional reference to his children. But he’s particularly good on his own Dickensian childhood, raised by parents who suffered from severe health issues. As for the tonal shift in New Order, he writes, “our music had become so incredibly dark and cold, we really couldn’t get any darker or colder.” Thus the band that had prided itself on its homegrown musical direction was increasingly in the thrall of club beats.

Given the author's previous reticence, fans of both bands will find this memoir revelatory.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-07772-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more