A colorful and illuminating memoir of a cabaret performer.

Paris Nights


Simon recounts his time at the fabled Moulin Rouge in Paris and how it led to his career in Hollywood in this debut book.

After a varied life in South Africa, England, and the United States as a gymnast, elite swimmer, and member of the South African Air Force, Simon was working as a water sports teacher at a resort on the Indian Ocean when he was given the opportunity to perform at the world- renowned Moulin Rouge. The 26-year-old Simon was amazed by the beautiful chaos of the cabaret, with its dancers, jugglers, acrobats, and animal acts. As one of the performers informed Simon on his first day: “The Moulin Rouge is where every show dancer wants to end up....Once you’ve danced here, you have a golden ticket to anywhere else in the world.” Simon quickly descended into the madness of the theater and the strange characters who made their livings there. Equally exotic was the city that surrounded them: Paris in 1988 was a place of great beauty and great grit, filled with tantalizing women, bacchanals, street thugs, and enterprising criminals. Simon had the opportunity to rise from a replacement background dancer to a principal performer, a position that would prepare him for the even more competitive world of Hollywood. All Simon needed to do was to focus and to keep out of trouble, but at the Moulin Rouge, that was easier said than done. With the help of co-writer Stephens, Simon has shaped his anecdotes from the time into a very readable and entertaining memoir. Flecked with quotes and references to the many writers who were captivated by Paris before Simon, the volume manages to communicate the surreal atmosphere of the city and the even more surreal environment of the cabaret. The author is perhaps a bit overly impressed with his own youthful self, making sure the reader knows just how capable and desirable he was, but for those interested in the esoteric world of the Moulin Rouge, this is a book worth reading.

A colorful and illuminating memoir of a cabaret performer.

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-943848-92-8

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Waldorf Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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