Amateurish, sure, but if with this, Fields can turn America’s attention from entertainment gossip to Shakespeare, more power...

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THE SHAKESPEARE MYSTERY

Hollywood entertainment lawyer Fields (Royal Blood, 1998; aka D. Kincaid, The Lawyer’s Tale, 1992, etc.) dabbles in literary criticism by sifting through the elusive evidence of Shakespeare’s probable identity, in a compelling work for the lay reader, woefully lacking in documentation.

Two puzzling identities fail to square in this long-standing literary mystery: The “Stratford man,” as Fields calls him, who hailed from provincial Stratford-upon-Avon, probably didn’t receive more than a grammar school education, married young and left his family to become an actor of some repute in London before returning home to die in relative obscurity in 1616; and the author of the Shakespeare canon, who demonstrated a vast knowledge of foreign lands, history, languages, military and legal affairs, and arcane and insider usages available only to the aristocracy. Patiently, Fields lines up the key issues in the debate—the Stratford man’s will, the mysteriously funded Stratford monument, the publication of the First Folio in 1623—and attacks them from both sides, the “Stratfordians” versus the “anti-Strats,” scholars who’ve been obsessed with this very matter throughout the centuries and whom Fields names occasionally, though without offering specific works or notes. After a blazing excursus through Stuart Tudor history, he examines the evidence of what the Stratford man knew versus what Shakespeare knew, the Stratford man’s nearly illiterate handwriting, the sexual orientations of the two, and their “outlook” on religion, politics and life in general. The Stratford man makes a poor showing, indeed, and though Fields claims to withhold judgment until all the evidence is in, he makes a most striking case for Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. He also presents cogent chapters on other plausible candidates, even Queen Elizabeth. His theory of the true authorship is dazzling but fails to consider how, with so many conspirators in the mix, the truth could have been kept from leaking.

Amateurish, sure, but if with this, Fields can turn America’s attention from entertainment gossip to Shakespeare, more power to him.

Pub Date: March 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-077559-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2005

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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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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