An eclectic mix of mystery, memoir, and the supernatural.

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The Boy Who Knew Too Much

AN ASTOUNDING TRUE STORY OF A YOUNG BOY'S PAST LIFE MEMORIES

In Byrd’s touching debut memoir, a little boy stuns his parents by declaring that he was the baseball player Lou Gehrig in a previous life.

When Christian Haupt was only a toddler, he was singularly enthralled by the sport of baseball. Although he was still too young to play the game, he talked about it constantly, refused to wear anything else but a baseball uniform, and seemed peculiarly disinterested in other, typical attractions of his peers, including toys, television, or even other children. He also sometimes referred to himself as an alter ego named “Baseball Konrad.” Byrd, Christian’s mother, recorded a video of him playing ball in 2011 and posted it on YouTube in the hope of winning him the privilege of throwing out the first pitch of the season for his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. The video was a sensation and ultimately led to Christian making a cameo appearance in the 2012 Adam Sandler movie That’s My Boy. It turned out that Christian’s indefatigable enthusiasm was coupled with genuinely precocious athletic talent. Byrd writes that one day in 2011, the young boy, still only 2 years old, started to share information about baseball from the 1920s and ’30s, including some that was esoteric even for avid, adult fans. Then Christian began to relate memories of what seemed like a past adult life as a baseball player; Byrd figured out that Christian believed that he was Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees. Byrd was initially unsure what to make of her son’s disclosures and sought counsel from multiple sources, including Jim B. Tucker, a well-known professor of psychiatry and neurobehavorial science. Byrd’s memoir almost reads like a suspenseful novel, and readers are sure to be gripped by the possible explanations she provides for Christian’s seemingly inexplicable memories. She also thoughtfully reflects on her own spirituality and the ways in which her son’s revelations challenged her Christian faith: “I was particularly interested in finding out why the concept of living more than one lifetime was incompatible with Christianity….Much to my surprise, I could not find a single scripture in the Bible that repudiates reincarnation.” On the whole, this is an affecting portrayal of parenthood and an affectionate love letter from a mother to her unusual child.

An eclectic mix of mystery, memoir, and the supernatural. 

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4019-5342-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Hay House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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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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