Return with us now to rock’s thrilling days of eye shadow and ostrich feathers.

THE THRILL OF IT ALL

THE STORY OF BRYAN FERRY AND ROXY MUSIC

Glam-rock pacesetters and their angst-racked vocalist receive a thoughtful consideration.

This time out, Buckley, who has surveyed David Bowie in two books, takes on the legacy of the electrifying ’70s U.K. act Roxy Music. His focus is on front man Bryan Ferry, a working-class provincial who carried cool from Newcastle after an art school education. In 1970, he founded Roxy Music in London with Brian Eno—a nonmusician committed to flamboyant style, sonic extremism and arty theatrics—and a group of mainly unknown collaborators. With the release of its first album in 1972, the band became an instant sensation; its vital fusion of lyrical irony, campy visual style and envelope-pushing experimentalism led to a popularity rivaling that accorded Bowie and T. Rex’s Marc Bolan at the apex of rock’s glitter era. But Buckley, who considers the untutored group a harbinger of punk rock, maintains that Ferry’s early expulsion of chief provocateur Eno, along with the singer’s increasingly conservative and fussy approach in the studio, spelled the end of the group’s importance. The writer also notes that social striver Ferry’s metamorphosis into the kind of suave, moneyed toff he had initially mocked hastened a descent into virtual self-parody in a series of labored and hermetic group projects and solo albums. Ferry’s latter-day irrelevance is telegraphed by the fact that Buckley spends a mere 58 pages on the 23 years between the release of Roxy’s lustrous 1981 album Avalon and the present day. The Thrill of It All lacks much primary sourcing: the ever-wary Ferry sat for just one interview in 1999, and Buckley couldn’t corral Eno or such founding Roxy members as guitarist Phil Manzanera or saxophonist Andy McKay, who both played in the reunited 2001 touring lineup. But testimony from a chorus of sidemen and independent observers plus well-selected secondary material adds up to a compelling assessment of a prophetic and influential band.

Return with us now to rock’s thrilling days of eye shadow and ostrich feathers.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-55652-574-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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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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