An eco-activist’s angry wake-up call about the harm being done to the environment by polluters, both military and industrial, and the need for citizens to seize power over the technological bullies in their neighborhood. Ward, who moved to Grantsville, Utah, believing it to be a fine small town to raise a family, soon discovered some unpleasant truths about his new home. Grantsville is located on the rim of the Great Basin, a vast desert of some 165,000 square miles that is the site of various military installations, including the Tooele Army Depot. There, Ward learned, old munitions were exploded in open pits. Also nearby, the Magcorp magnesium refinery, characterized by Ward as “the dirtiest industrial operation in America,— was releasing huge amounts of chlorine gas into the air. Ward traces a pattern of abusive military activity marked by denial and coverup, and charges that a tradition of trading environmental quality for jobs and revenue has turned wilderness areas into “environmental sacrifice zones.” Now dedicated to the struggle for a clean environment, he describes the many battles in the long fight to keep the army from incinerating nerve agents and to force Magcorp to clean up its refinery, and he concludes that local citizen activists are the key to success. Surveying the continuing battle over paying to store nuclear waste in the Skull Valley Reservation, he shows the division between Indians who view it as a bonanza and those who view it as a disaster while making his own stand on the question clear. He and his Grantsville neighbors, he asserts, are like the canaries used by old-time coal miners to warn of lethal gases. This time, however, once toxins are in the air, water, and food chain, everyone, not just those immediately downwind or downstream, is at risk. Except for an excess of confusing acronyms and abbreviations, a highly readable addition to the growing body of writing on the toxicity of our environment.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 1999

ISBN: 1-85984-750-1

Page Count: 238

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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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 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 19, 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...


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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