Illuminating and thoughtful, especially for those who can't help but hear Jackson's hit song when they read the book's title.

REMEMBER THE TIME

PROTECTING MICHAEL JACKSON IN HIS FINAL DAYS

The calamitous last stage of the singer's life as told by his trusted security team, with the assistance of Colby (Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America, 2012, etc.).

Whitfield and Beard witnessed firsthand how Michael Jackson (1958-2009) squandered his enormous wealth by trusting the wrong people, whose questionable business deals yielded more legal entanglements than profits. They steered clear of the infighting and conflicting agendas among those who oversaw Jackson's crumbling empire and observed how Jackson, deliberately disengaged from his own affairs, was "a billion-dollar enterprise, running 24/7, and there was nobody in charge.” The authors provide solid insight into Jackson's immature behavior—e.g., his ruinous habit of turning to wealthy, powerful figures to rescue him in times of crisis and his blithe dismissal of the harm his staff endured due to his refusal to manage his corrupt advisors. In one incredible story, Jackson asked Whitfield during one of the pop star's famed spending sprees at FAO Schwarz why Whitfield wasn't buying Christmas presents for his own daughter; when he informed Jackson he had not been paid in weeks, he replied "Oh" and did nothing to repair the situation. Jackson was renowned for his enormous compassion and generosity to people in need around the world, but he couldn't see the pain his actions caused the people closest to him. "[B]eing isolated from such a very young age,” write the authors, “he [never] developed the skills you need to cope with personal relationships." The authors also reflect on how Jackson missed out on more than just playtime and friendships: "Childhood isn't just about being a child; it's about becoming an adult,” says Whitfield. “Because eventually you will be an adult, whether you want to or not.”

Illuminating and thoughtful, especially for those who can't help but hear Jackson's hit song when they read the book's title.

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60286-250-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Weinstein Books

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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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