THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS

A GRAPHIC NARRATIVE OF A SLAVE'S JOURNEY FROM BONDAGE TO FREEDOM

Drawing on Frederick Douglass’ own words, this graphic novel tells the story of one man’s journey from the bondages of slavery to free, well-respected, and sought-after orator fighting for equality until the end of his life.

Readers see Douglass, the child of an enslaved mother whom he only saw a few short times in his life, with no knowledge of his actual birth date or father’s identity, being left at the plantation’s great house by his grandmother, starved by a tyrannical overseer, and sold by multiple owners. A moment of benevolence by one owner’s wife led to Frederick’s being taught to read, which proved to be the key to his liberation. Placing Douglass in historical context, the book tells readers of his support of black troops during the Civil War, his rallying for women and the vote (despite the racism of some white suffragists), his advocacy of the rights of Native Americans and Chinese immigrants, and his mentoring of anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, and it also sheds light on intimate family relationships. The high-quality sources and extensive research lend this book an authenticity which precludes any denial of the cruelty, dehumanization, and intergenerational violence of slavery. The clear, expressive color illustrations simultaneously put faces to the characters as well as softening the blows of some of the more graphic moments in Frederick’s life, making it more palatable for a younger audience.

Powerful and engaging. (cast of characters, timeline, historical notes, sources, index) (Graphic biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-58144-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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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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