Opening up new perspectives on past political debates, Goodwin delivers a finely limned portrait of a man whose career was...

WALTER LIPPMANN

PUBLIC ECONOMIST

An insightful biography of esteemed journalist and philosopher Walter Lippmann (1889-1974).

The material that Goodwin (Emeritus, Economics/Duke Univ.; Art and the Market: Roger Fry On Commerce in Art, 1999, etc.) has culled from the extensive Lippmann archives at Yale, his published works, correspondence and the newspaper column “Today and Tomorrow,” which ran from 1931 to 1967, is at once shocking and provocative. A successful journalist and opinion-shaper, Lippmann wrote for the New York Herald Tribune and other papers and authored numerous books. An extensive cast of friends and acquaintances—including economist John Maynard Keynes and future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter—allowed him to be privy to policy discussions at the highest levels. Goodwin builds the scaffolding of his narrative on the successive phases of Lippmann's career, and the lessons the author draws from Lippmann's thinking, discussions and writings about the causes of the Great Depression are eerily familiar and timely. Lippmann’s critiques of efforts to organize recovery through Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal are exemplary, and the questions Lippmann explored could have sprung straight from the pages of today's newspapers. His profile of the almost schizophrenic nature of the New Deal also resonates powerfully today. Lippmann, who was unaffiliated with party or faction, sought to educate and strengthen the political center against what Goodwin calls “two competing approaches at the extremes,” progressivism and conservatism. Some still label Lippmann an elitist and anti-democratic for his views, but Goodwin disabuses such notions and highlights how Lippmann's thinking about government was based on a desire to strengthen both equality and freedom.

Opening up new perspectives on past political debates, Goodwin delivers a finely limned portrait of a man whose career was based on standards and purposes that seem to have largely disappeared from public life.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0674368132

Page Count: 370

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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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