Transfers impassioned gun control arguments from blog post to book, with limited success.

Busting Gun Nuts

25 STUPID GUN ARGUMENTS AND HOW TO REFUTE THEM

An online gun-control movement presents its arguments in book form. 

Written under a pseudonym associated with online organizing and offline attention-grabbing, debut author Yerguns makes the book’s tone and intended audience clear from the opening pages: “If someone’s more upset by bad words than by a classroom of first-graders getting blown away by a maniac with an AR-15, they are the problem.” The book is clearly not intended to present a measured argument to Second Amendment purists or National Rifle Association members, but to animate gun control advocates and provide a framework for responding to common arguments advanced by gun proponents. Yerguns encourages advocates to pursue a strategy similar to the fight against drunk driving in the 1980s, holding up Mothers Against Drunk Driving as a model for organizing and lobbying, and places the anti–gun-control movement in historical context with a concise overview of the NRA’s evolution in recent decades. Sound statements (“Just as sexual assault needs to be understood more broadly than a masked Bad Guy jumping out of the bushes, it’s equally ridiculous to think of ‘gun crime’ solely in terms of masked Bad Guys robbing banks”) and statistics are mixed with references to “gunhumpers” and more splenetic fare (“And over the last 20 years, Lott’s book of fairy tales has had the shit debunked out of it”). With font changes, cartoon illustrations, memes, and Facebook screen shots scattered throughout the text, the book often has the appearance of a blog transferred to paper without additional editing. Frequent underlined text, apparently intended as a hyperlink but without the inclusion of the Web address, is of limited value. Yerguns advances entirely reasonable ideas with understandable fire. The book’s lack of polish and unsuitability to the format, however, hampers its effectiveness as a tool of advocacy.

Transfers impassioned gun control arguments from blog post to book, with limited success.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 88

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2016

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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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