A neat slice of local color, regional history and the joy of amateur sport.

SEAHAWK

: CONFESSIONS OF AN OLD HOCKEY GOALIE

Valley reflects on the zeal, pride and love his amateur team from Rye, N.H., brought to hockey through the 1940s and ’50s.

The author uses a considerable measure of polish, not unlike the surface of a pond after a long freeze, in this memoir of his hockey-playing years, principally for the Seahawk team from his native New England. From Thanksgiving until the ice rotted in April, his town was obsessed with hockey. World War II veterans started a club (perhaps, Valley suggests, not just to play but to help bevel some of the harsher experiences of war, in a game where warlike tendencies are kept in check) that rose to prominence through the B ranks. The author turns a bright light on the thrill of the game, its mesmerizing flow of speed, skill and color, but finds something deep within the Seahawks. The team members organized everything independently–the outdoor rink, uniforms and money needed to sustain a club–when times were still economically hard. They “gave everyone a source of community entertainment and, more importantly, something to identify with, get behind and make everybody proud.” Valley also captures some quality on-ice action, as he joined the Seahawks between the goal’s pipes when he was 14 years old. It’s good, cringing fun to read of the poor goalie’s circumstances–the equipment was primitive, and he wore no mask. Still, the author shrugs off one encounter that left a number of his teeth on the ice and 80 stitches in and around his mouth. He provides choice nuggets of club history–for their first game, since no local sport shop stocked the hockey variety, “each player was wearing an extra-large, bright pink ladies garter belt under his hockey pants.” No one will begrudge him if he goes on a bit about his coming retirement from the game and struggles to determine when his exit is graceful rather than premature.

A neat slice of local color, regional history and the joy of amateur sport.

Pub Date: Dec. 25, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-931807-72-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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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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