An elegant memoir of a meaningful life.



A call to protect “our blue frontier and last great wilderness commons at sea.”

Helvarg (Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America’s Forgotten Heroes, 2009, etc.) has led an adventurous life as a journalist, private investigator, producer of documentary films and a political activist. During his boyhood on the north shore of Queens, New York, he witnessed the destruction of the wetlands he loved. While attending Boston University in the late ’60s, he was arrested for participating in an antiwar riot. He promptly dropped out of college in 1971 and moved to San Diego to organize against the war. It was there that he became an avid bodysurfer and began his “lifelong connection to the ocean.” Resuming his education, he transferred to Goddard College, which had a work-study program that allowed him to study urban warfare firsthand in Northern Ireland, laying the groundwork for his future career as a journalist. After graduation, he returned to San Diego where he edited a small weekly newspaper and wrote articles about navy dolphins, navy nuclear weapons, white sharks, offshore oil drilling and other marine topics. He discovered that the two major marine-biological research centers—Scripps on the West coast and Woods Hole in Cape Cod—were heavily involved in Cold War research, to the detriment of oceanographic biology and marine ecology. Although he is a willing risk taker who welcomes the challenges of rough water and covering war zones, he writes movingly about how the “sea, like death, has been the main theme in my life; it has provided rapture, joy, solitude, and solace at different points along the journey.” Now approaching 60, Helvarg has dedicated his remaining years to the “protection, exploration, and restoration of our living seas,” even though he is no longer a young radical.

An elegant memoir of a meaningful life.

Pub Date: May 11, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-312-56706-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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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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