Reconstructed from thousands of letters the pair exchanged over 16 years, this tender and unusual narrative offers a rare,...

YOURS FOR ETERNITY

A LOVE STORY ON DEATH ROW

A former prison inmate and his wife share the personal letters they exchanged during his incarceration, offering insight into their remarkable, if slightly obsessive relationship.

Landscape architect Davis began writing to Echols (Life After Death, 2012) in 1996 after seeing a documentary about the murder case that landed him on death row. She soon found herself drawn to not only Echols’ story, but also the man himself. The pair wrote to each other several times per week. They talked about everything from “chastity belts [and] whirling dervishes” to “17-year locusts and Paganini.” Within just a few short months, Davis and Echols had fallen in love despite the fact neither one of them knew what the other looked like. After a brief summer visit, the profound spiritual and emotional connection deepened to include a physical component that surprised both with its intensity. Speaking of her desire for Echols, Davis writes, “[m]y body is alive with it…it is agony. Echols in turn reveals his wish to have Davis with him, “flesh against flesh [with] nothing to separate us.” Execution and the ups and downs of the appeals process hung over the pair like a shadow, yet Davis and Echols still managed to create an elaborate world of "magickal" possibility from which they drew strength. Believing that they were going to “build a history that stretch[ed] to infinity,” they married in 1999. The fight to keep their love, hopes and dreams alive continued until Echols was finally released in 2011. Then the couple began a new struggle to lead a normal life free from the barriers and surveillance that had formerly defined their relationship.

Reconstructed from thousands of letters the pair exchanged over 16 years, this tender and unusual narrative offers a rare, courageously intimate view of a love that should never have survived and yet did.

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-16619-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 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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