Candid and heartfelt, though at times penitential in tone.



An evangelical activist's account of the troubled relationship between his family and his rebellious, drug-addicted son.

Mansfield was determined not to make the same mistakes parenting his children that his own well-meaning but distant father made with him. When his first child, Nate, was born, he vowed to engage in the kind of "intentional parenting" that would help him acknowledge Nate's "personal worth and value” on a daily basis. He and his wife worked hard at creating what they believed was a happy life for Nate, which included bedtime stories, road trips and plenty of family celebrations. But what Mansfield didn't realize was that by being so child-focused and not letting Nate (and later, his two younger siblings) "own their feelings" during moments of conflict, he was unwittingly modeling selfish and self-centered behaviors to his children. This in turn manifested in such unwanted behaviors as vicious fights between Nate and his sister, who at times looked and sounded as though "they were auditioning for roles in Lord of the Flies.” All three of Mansfield's children eventually learned to love God, but it was his eldest son who began to use drugs and challenge authority. Nate's descent into addiction led to run-ins with the law and, later, a felony conviction for drug possession. The greatest tragedy, though, came after his release. Just when Nate had made a commitment to changing his life, he died, a victim of prescription drug abuse. Mansfield takes much of the blame for what happened to his son, but as he does so, he also suggests that the child-centered approach to parenting endorsed by the Christian community may have been flawed.

Candid and heartfelt, though at times penitential in tone.

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-7851-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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