An admirable account of an icon of the golden age of space flight.

MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION

The troubled but ultimately redeemed life of the second man to walk on the Moon.

Beginning with the 1969 launch of Apollo 11, Aldrin (co-author: Look to the Stars, 2009, etc.) and co-author Abraham deliver a blow-by-blow account of the journey, landing and return. Readers will be amazed at the feat—achieved with archaic technology—but also recall wistfully that this was the last time that a mighty America flexed its muscles before the world and received unanimous cheers. For Aldrin, the historic mission proved to be an extremely tough act to follow. With no shortage of astronauts, he was not able to return to the Moon; he yearned to command the Air Force Academy, but superiors chose someone else. Like all driven, ambitious men, Aldrin was brutally self-critical. He had achieved his greatest ambition at the age of 39, at which point life seemed to lose its purpose. He began to suffer from depression. Emotional illness was the kiss of death to a military career in the 1970s, so he had to retire. Over the next decade depression and alcoholism overwhelmed him, destroying his marriage and limiting his efforts to forge a new career. His unsentimental account of recovery does not conceal repeated failures or the debilitating depression that still occasionally haunts him. Today Aldrin, nearing 80, remains an active public figure working to reenergize America’s faltering space program. As is the case with many memoirs by famous people without a writing background, the author describes events better than people or feelings. He clearly loves his new wife, admires the many rich and powerful people he works with and overflows with ideas for promoting space travel.

An admirable account of an icon of the golden age of space flight.

Pub Date: June 23, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-307-46345-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more