A simple, warmhearted celebration of small-town living.



A Washington Post data reporter debuts with an account of his move from the D.C. area to a rural county in northwestern Minnesota.

In 2015, Ingraham published a dismissive comment about Red Lake County, Minnesota, and the immediate social media reactions from some people there prompted him to visit. When he got there, he realized that he was falling for the place. He convinced his wife that they should move there for a while. It was a great place, he thought, to bring up their twin sons, still of preschool age—not to mention quite a bit less expensive than D.C. So they packed up and moved, where they were, again, surprised to discover how comfortable they felt—even though Red Lake “is a place so lacking in superlatives that proclaiming itself ‘the only landlocked county…that is surrounded by just two neighboring counties’ is the closest thing to a boast that you’ll find on the county’s website.” Seldom is heard a discouraging word in Ingraham’s text; the only time he really complains, which he does in a light, even ironic way, is about the local food, especially the pizza (barely edible). The family quickly adapted to the entirely new small-town culture and found everyone welcoming and even sort of Mayberry-ish. Ingraham deals with a number of fundamental issues: health care (things were farther away than in the densely populated East), schools (he had a great experience with the local school dealing with one of his sons), social life (his wife won a seat on the town council; he went deer hunting), and, of course, the extreme cold of northern Minnesota. The author devotes a small section to politics, registering his belief that mass-media portrayals of small-town rural America are not sufficiently nuanced. Throughout, Ingraham writes with the conviction of one who has found—as least for him—tranquility and truth.

A simple, warmhearted celebration of small-town living.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-286147-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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 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...


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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