A DANCE AGAINST TIME

THE BRIEF, BRILLIANT LIFE OF A JOFFREY DANCER

A sensitive biography of a young dancer/choreographer who died of AIDS just two days after his first two dances premiered at the Joffrey Ballet in March 1991. Freelance journalist Solway uses Edward Stierle's short life to contrast the development of a prodigious talent with the tragic waste of early death. She looks at these intertwining themes from the personal perspective of Stierle, his family, and close friends as well as considering them as part of a larger picture: the effect of AIDS on the dance world and on the arts scene in general. Born in 1968, Stierle was raised in Florida, the youngest of eight children of a hardworking high school custodian. His mother ferried her talented son from age four on to endless classes and auditions; she trumpeted his achievements to all who would listen and tried to control his personal life even after he moved to Europe and then New York City. In spite of a short, stocky build, Stierle became a brilliant dance technician and at age 16 won a gold medal in the prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Joffrey Ballet, where he was put directly into starring roles and encouraged to choreograph. A tireless self-promoter, Stierle alienated many colleagues and friends by his obsession with his own talent and career—although after his death some would charitably attribute his urgency to the knowledge that he was running out of time. Stierle's struggle with his bisexuality is fully recounted here. He attributed his infection to a 1987 encounter in California, and although he was virtually symptom-free for a couple of years, by 1990 the disease was rapidly progressing as he worked desperately to finish the two extraordinary ballets- -Lacrymosa and Empyrean Dances—that are his legacy. While keeping Stierle's story within the context of the larger AIDS tragedy, Solway's plain, measured prose makes clear the personal and professional magnitude of this individual loss. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-78894-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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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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