Here, Eaker-Weil (a family therapist and frequent TV talk-show guest), with the help of health-writer Winter (The Scientific Case against Smoking, 1980, etc.), tackles a thorny problem that visits about 70% of married couples these days: infidelity. Though she cites statistics indicating that 35% of the marriages disrupted by this problem end in divorce, Eaker-Weil claims that only 2% of the couples she herself has treated fail to reconcile. The author's core thesis is that the tendency for infidelity is transgenerational—indeed, that in nine out of ten cases, there's unfaithfulness in the family trees of either the betrayer or the betrayed (causing individuals either to repeat inherited patterns of unfaithfulness or to seek out partners who are bound to betray them). Eaker-Weil urges both parties in a situation of infidelity to complete ``genograms'' that track down family penchants for unfaithfulness: She even serves up a chart of this kind for Prince Charles and Princess Di. The author also expresses great concern about how infidelity affects children, proposing that parents try play therapy to help their kids cope. But when Eaker- Weil gets down to what the man and woman directly involved should do, her prescriptions are narrow (``what concerns me most is the current argument that you can't be a liberated woman unless you fool around''); formulaic (``don't call a divorce lawyer''); or embarrassing (as in the case of the ``funeral game,'' in which traumatized spouses are supposed to enact each other's funeral rites). Meanwhile, the author overloads us with case studies bearing titles like ``Patty's Lost Paradise'' or ``Lars Confronts his Facade.'' Perhaps wise for its stress on transgenerational patterns, but too unsubtle to help people make sense of a problem that has infinite varieties and ramifications.

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-55972-185-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Birch Lane Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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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 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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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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