An engaging tour of the busy intersection where history, politics, journalism and power converge.

THE LION AND THE JOURNALIST

THE UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND JOSEPH BUCKLIN BISHOP

A freelance journalist debuts with an account of the little-known relationship between a powerful journalist and a president.

The author has much on his narrative plate. The social and political history of the early 20th century, the biographies of Roosevelt and Bishop, the story of the Panama Canal—all figure prominently. Bishop, 12 years older that Roosevelt, outlived the bully president by nearly a decade. The author, who is Bishop’s great-grandnephew, begins with the 1919 death of Roosevelt, then devotes some chapters to the lives of his principals before they met, cutting back and forth between them. Bishop, a so-so student at Brown, moved to New York City, where he gradually ascended journalism’s ladder until he was writing popular editorials for the New York Evening Post. Interwoven is the progress of Roosevelt through young manhood and his initial government posts, including his appointment as New York City police commissioner, a job that soon connected him with Bishop. The author writes that there was no magic moment of meeting, but they both realized the other’s value. Though Bishop did not always support Roosevelt’s actions, he did so with enough frequency that when his journalism career was collapsing, he landed a position with the Panama Canal Commission, a position that caused some in Congress to cry cronyism. The author, responding that his ancestor worked hard and did well, quotes generously from the many letters between the two and from secondary sources on Roosevelt, the block quotations from which sometimes make his text look like a term paper.

An engaging tour of the busy intersection where history, politics, journalism and power converge.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7627-7754-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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