INNOCENT SPOUSE

A MEMOIR

Following her loving husband’s unexpected death, TV producer Joynt came face-to-face with her mate’s secret life. The fallout decimated her once comfortable life, flinging her into a decade of financial and emotional misery.

The author fell deeply in love with Howard Joynt in 1977. As the night assignment editor for the NBC News Washington, D.C., Bureau, she had a successful career, and Howard was a rich, charming, sophisticated restaurateur. They soon married, Joynt abandoned her career and the couple retreated to a large estate in the Virginia countryside. Unknown to the author, her husband possessed a dark side that soon emerged. Chronic depression fueled his rages, followed by physical abuse. After much grief, they entered counseling, salvaging their marriage. Ten years into their marriage, they moved back to Washington, restarting their professional lives. Joynt became a producer for Nightwatch; her husband shouldered the day-to-day management of his legendary restaurant, Nathans. For the next decade, their lives were grand. But in 1997, a month after a sailing vacation to the Caribbean, Joynt’s husband died, and the author’s comfortable life disintegrated. Due to her husband’s fraudulent financial dealings, Joynt discovered she now owed the IRS $3 million in back taxes. “The reality he left us was not enchanting and not safe, but dangerous and frightening,” she writes. The author recounts the misery of the next ten years dealing with the messy details of her long battle with the IRS; her valiant attempts to turn Nathans into a moneymaking enterprise; her constant struggle to retain her demanding job as a producer with Larry King Live; and the joy of raising her son. Excellent recounting of the author’s lost decade, during which she rebuilt her life, became self-sufficient and found peace following her husband’s deceit.

 

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-59209-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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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