Those with fond memories of the author’s wholesome movies and TV shows may take pleasure in this dose of good cheer; others...

KEEP MOVING

AND OTHER TIPS AND TRUTHS ABOUT AGING

In this follow-up to his memoir, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business (2011), song-and-dance man Van Dyke relishes his approaching 90th birthday and shares some tips for readers on reaching and enjoying that venerable age.

Best known for Bye Bye BirdieMary Poppins, and the Dick Van Dyke Show, the still-energetic actor, aided here by Gold (co-author, with Billy Ray Cyrus: Hillbilly Heart, 2013, etc.), presents not so much a memoir as a collection of sprightly, scattered essays, a few poems, some correspondence with a TV reviewer, one raunchy limerick, and a fair number of platitudinous to-do and not-to-do lists. One chapter, featuring his report card rating of significant events since his birth in 1925, results in some odd juxtapositions: Van Dyke seeing Al Jolson in a “talkie” in 1930 (The Jazz Singer) is followed by the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 (“The country…needed a leader, someone to believe in, and FDR was the man”). Both years receive an A. Van Dyke’s boyhood, marriages, career, bout with alcoholism, health problems: all touched upon but not explored, for this is determinedly upbeat stuff. If the secrets to a long life are good genes and a good attitude, the author appears to have been blessed with both, plus the important factor of good luck. Some celebrity name-dropping is inevitable in a showbiz memoir, but here it is fairly low-key. A late chapter featuring a conversation with longtime friend Carl Reiner would have been a fitting way to wrap up this offering on aging well, but unfortunately, Van Dyke cannot resist concluding this account by tacking on more forgettable platitudes.

Those with fond memories of the author’s wholesome movies and TV shows may take pleasure in this dose of good cheer; others not so much.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60286-296-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Weinstein Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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