A dynamic version of the mythic American dream.



After nearly three decades of shaping much of what we know of as “street style,” Harlem-born Day, aka Dapper Dan, tells his life story in an engaging prose style.

From growing up hungry in the 1940s and ’50s (“nothing makes you question the purpose and meaning of life like hunger”) to being a master dice gambler to opening (and subsequently closing) his own clothing boutique, the author chronicles his own story as well as that of the changing societal landscape of Harlem. Day’s parents had moved from “tight-knit rural communities in the South where everyone knew each other” to black Harlem, where families “did their best to re-create those communities.” There was little crime and decent education in the public schools, but as Day grew older, the allure of the streets became more important than an education. The author quit high school as the neighborhood was becoming increasingly violent and fragmented due to new housing projects and the rise of heroin and crack, and he took up gambling as his primary hustle. He became a master of his trade, “somewhere between a magician and a scientist,” and he used his smarts through dice games as a primary means of income to support his growing family. After a brief stint in prison for a credit-card fraud scheme in Aruba, Day, increasingly spiritually minded and determined to get off the streets, returned to Harlem and opened the clothing boutique Dapper Dan, specializing in furs and leathers. “Fashion for me wasn’t about expression,” he writes. “Fashion was about power,” a message that resonated with his neighborhood connections, drawing in the hustlers with money to spend. Day eventually found a creative way to screen print the logos of high-fashion labels, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi, and make custom clothing for his first customers—the black gangsters of Harlem. Since then, his clothes and vision have become iconic to American hip-hop culture. With clients like Jam Master Jay, Flavor Flav, and Beyoncé, Day continues to have an instrumental effect on black urban culture.

A dynamic version of the mythic American dream.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51051-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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