Fascinating for entertainment industry buffs, and nicely revealing of an entrepreneur with a great heart as well as a golden...

PRODUCER

A MEMOIR

Prolific film, TV, and entertainment producer Wolper tours his life, helped by veteran coauthor Fisher (Hard Evidence, 1995, etc.).

In the late 1940s, Wolper quit college to join buddy Jimmy Harris in forming Flamingo Films, a distribution company that sold product to all the new television stations opening around the country and clamoring for time fillers. There were no networks yet, and Hollywood, fearing TV’s takeover, would sell the stations no movies. However, Wolper and Harris did manage to buy the TV rights to an independently made film, The Adventures of Martin Eden starring Glen Ford and Evelyn Keyes, which they sold to countless stations; it became the first feature film ever broadcast on TV. Lack of product soon forced Flamingo to create original programming. In 1951, the company signed a $30-million, 31-year deal with National Comics for the TV rights to Superman, filmed 104 episodes at $20,000 each with George Reeves as the wrinkly-costumed Man of Steel, got Kellogg’s cereals to sponsor and sell the show everywhere outside the majors. Superman is still running. Older readers will have a nostalgia feast as Flamingo buys the rights from Universal for the Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and Don Winslow serials. Wolper’s interests grew, and he moved into producing, buying some rare Russian space footage for his first documentary, The Race for Space. Yet he always remained the visionary entrepreneur who has the ideas and assembles the talents but is himself not an artist. Among his colossal successes: Roots and The Thorn Birds on TV, staging the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the films Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and L.A. Confidential, and the creation of the template for what would became A&E’s Biography series. Even so, declares Wolper, art collecting brings him his greatest rewards.

Fascinating for entertainment industry buffs, and nicely revealing of an entrepreneur with a great heart as well as a golden touch.

Pub Date: March 11, 2003

ISBN: 0-7432-3687-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2002

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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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