An honest, heartwarming choice for animal lovers.

Hollars (Creative Writing/Univ. of Wisconsin, Eau Claire; Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa, 2013, etc.) examines what “humans stand to learn as a result of our close-knit lives with our pets.”

In this collection of essays, the author moves beyond interpretation of the human-animal bond to think about what happens when human beings take the time to “listen” to what animals have to “tell” them. The first five essays detail his experiences with pets—including his own beloved childhood dog—and their human caretakers. In “Sniffing for Hope,” Hollars chronicles his shadowing of a county humane officer, an experience that provided him insight into the nature of animal rescue. In another piece, Hollars tells the story of a family and their bulldog Bruiser, a canine who could not stand up on his front legs. Thanks to a specially designed wheeled orthotic, Bruiser became mobile and showed everyone, including the author, the importance of belief. In the last five essays, Hollars revisits each of the lessons learned in the first section with stories that show him testing his insights. In one story, he follows the last hours of a dog condemned, without evidence, to die for killing a cat. He finds himself drawing disturbing parallels with the human criminal justice system while struggling to maintain hope. In another essay, Hollars follows a second disabled dog, Gretchen, who had back legs that dragged “as if weighed down by an invisible force.” Unlike Bruiser, she could not be made more mobile through the orthotics made for her. Ultimately, the book is about the love we have for our pets. Like the dog for which he grieved more than 20 years after her passing, pets make human life “better” by teaching us humility and compassion.

An honest, heartwarming choice for animal lovers.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8032-7729-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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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