A revelatory collection reminding us of what journalism used to be—and what it ought to be.

FINAL DRAFT

THE COLLECTED WORK OF DAVID CARR

A collection of key pieces of the renowned journalist, who died unexpectedly at 58 in 2015.

Arranged more or less chronologically, these pieces commence in the 1980s, when Carr (The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life, His Own, 2008), a Minnesota native, was a freelancer in his home state. Gradually, we move through his other gigs: Family Times (a monthly local in the Twin Cities), Twin Cities Reader, Washington City Paper, Atlantic Monthly, New York Magazine, and the New York Times, where he died in the newsroom. The earlier pieces include some very personal ones about his substance abuse and struggles with cancer, but there are also investigative pieces about other assorted topics, including hungover airline pilots and a gay political candidate. Throughout are a number of celebrity profiles: Tom Arnold, Sally Quinn, Neil Young, Bill Cosby, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr. (In the Cosby piece, Carr chides himself for not pursuing the rape allegations about the now-incarcerated comedian.) The author also provides coverage of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, 9/11, and the journalism profession (plagiarism, Fox News, the toxic effects of Ann Coulter). Related to all of this is an 11-page copy of a journalism syllabus for a course he taught at Boston University. Sometimes the pieces are thematically arranged. Near the end are two separated by 12 years; both deal with the view as drivers approach New York City (the author was commuting from New Jersey at the time). Throughout the book, Carr displays profound care about his craft, flashes of humor, and, when necessary, genuine fangs: See his 2015 piece about a neighbor’s cat, and witness the gleam of his verbal scalpel that vivisects Coulter. Carr’s wife, Jill, served as the editor for the book, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, who worked for Carr at Washington City Paper, provides the foreword.

A revelatory collection reminding us of what journalism used to be—and what it ought to be.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-20668-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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