A proud and devoted mother’s overdone portrait of her celebrated gymnast daughter’s trials and triumphs. Claudia Miller relates her daughter’s progress from jungle-gym-climbing toddler to leader of the first US women’s gymnastic team to bring home the Olympic gold. For those who don’t know a double twisting Yurchenko from a piked full twisting double back, the particulars of Shannon Miller’s gymnastic feats in innumerable competitions quickly become tedious. Of more interest to parents of an exceptional child is the story of the Miller family’s efforts to keep one daughter’s striking success from having negative effects on her older sister and younger brother. With Shannon’s success came tension between her parents and her controlling and demanding coach (by this time, Claudia Miller had trained to become a gymnastics judge, and some second-guessing of the coach was probably inevitable) and difficult decisions concerning agents and money. Recurrent injuries were another problem, especially since the author is a Christian Scientist and her husband a Baptist; for Shannon, Christian Science practitioners and prayer were combined with consultations with physicians, medical treatments, surgery, and physical therapy as needed. Rather surprisingly, Miller barely mentions the controversial weight issue in her discussions of her daughter’s health, despite the fact that at age 15 Shannon weighed only 76 pounds. Even allowing for motherly prejudice, the portrait of the young gymnast that emerges is one any parent would be proud of: an outstanding athlete who is also a top student, and someone who makes exceptional demands on herself but is at the same time thoughtful and considerate of others. As an Olympic gymnast, Shannon Miller had the eyes of the world on her, but this overly technical treatment won—t put her on the bestseller podium where fellow gymnast Dominique Moceanu once stood. (8 color, 42 b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8061-3110-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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