Startlingly prescient words from a moral crusader during a perilous time.

MY BATTLE AGAINST HITLER

FAITH, TRUTH, AND DEFIANCE IN THE SHADOW OF THE THIRD REICH

The edited journals of a fearless anti-Nazi philosophy professor and theologian in Munich reveal exceptionally brave activism and resistance.

A young convert to Catholicism, von Hildebrand (1889-1977) was the son of the neoclassical German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand and grew up in Italy before studying philosophy at the University of Munich, where he became a professor in 1919. In this memoir, written in the late 1950s and substantially edited and translated by Crosby and the team at the Hildebrand Project, he recounts his increasingly outspoken views about the rise of Nazism, which he believed was fundamentally opposed to Christianity. In his chronicles from 1921 to 1937, he delineates his growing alarm at the rise and violence of the Nazis and their tenets of nationalism, militarism, collectivism and anti-Semitism—views he openly expressed at conventions among his fellow Catholic theologians, who were frequently on the side of appeasement and collaboration. After Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, von Hildebrand was horrified to realize that “Bavaria had fallen into the hands of criminals,” and he also expressed what he saw as a deeply anti-aesthetic ideology of the Nazis: “a flat, gloomy and incredibly trivial world, a barren and ignorant mindset.” At the time, von Hildebrand’s students were impressed by his “intuitive power,” yet once Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, von Hildebrand realized he could not stay in Germany without making moral compromises. With his wife and son, he fled to Vienna, where he cultivated relationships with like-minded leaders such as Engelbert Dollfuss, the Austrian chancellor who resisted the Anschluss and agreed to help von Hildebrand start an anti-Nazi journal devoted to “the battle against antipersonalism and totalitarianism.” From Vienna, he and his family eventually fled to Toulouse, France, then New York in 1940. Crosby also includes several of von Hildebrand’s stringent essays from the 1930s.

Startlingly prescient words from a moral crusader during a perilous time.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-0385347518

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Image/Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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