By and large, a refreshing sampling of political legacies cleaving to the notion of equality and justice on behalf of the...

PROFILES IN COURAGE FOR OUR TIME

Character sketches of 14 men and women who have won the Profiles in Courage Award, which recognizes elected officials who “stood fast for the ideals of America.”

Gratifyingly, this is not just another collection of eulogies; some of the winners have blots on their political escutcheons that are duly noted. Nor will all readers agree on the worthiness of each recipient, as the obvious case of Gerald Ford attests. Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon “was the only way of ending the public and media obsession with his predecessor’s future,” Bob Woodward unconvincingly claims, begging the point that the obsession arose from concern over the consequences of illegal acts in high office and the impeccable standards to which citizens (we hope) hold those who hold office. Other winners are more obviously laudable, such as Texas Representative Henry B. Gonzalez, who fought Jim Crow laws in his home state and “totally resisted the prevailing slickness that was debasing our politics,” as Pete Hamill puts it. Corkin Cherubini, captured by Marion Wright Edelman, fought race-based tracking (“a kind of educational apartheid”) as superintendent of Georgia’s public schools. California Senator Hilda Solis, profiled by Anthony Walton, constructed legal guidelines that identified and mitigated “the negative environmental and health effects of pollution and waste-disposal facilities on low-income and minority populations.” An example of a fence-straddler is Carl Elliott Sr., congressman from Alabama. As Michael Beschloss writes, much can be said for Elliott’s “aid-to-education bill,” which sought to bring equality to the Alabama school system. Yet he also signed the notorious “Southern Manifesto” and truckled to George Wallace’s racist politics.

By and large, a refreshing sampling of political legacies cleaving to the notion of equality and justice on behalf of the weak and exploited.

Pub Date: May 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7868-6793-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2002

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