A heartfelt testimony to the power of service, strength and faith.


A peripatetic but touching spiritual autobiography by a believer with a divine destiny.

Mack’s life hangs together along a string of near-death experiences and divine missions. And these two pieces—the near-misses and the missions—are closely related, because he believes that since his birth, God has had a plan for him. Mack, a “Eurasian-American” with Japanese roots, is raised the only child of a single mother in Hawaii in the years following the Pearl Harbor bombing. A rabble-rouser as a child, he nonetheless finds his discipline and his drive in high school and eventually channels that energy into a long military career that begins in the ROTC at UCLA. Though it relates much of his adolescence and his later years, the memoir’s central narrative focuses on Mack’s time in the military. He completes his Ranger training in Georgia, cuts his teeth in Germany and fights in Southeast Asia during the hottest years of the Vietnam War. His exemplary service earns him a promotion to the rank of full colonel by the age of 41. Mack’s army career is the beating heart of his memoir, and he provides a bracing, honest portrait of military life, full of the valuable details that only an experienced veteran can provide. Throughout all the years of fighting, God watches over Mack, preserving and protecting him, preparing him for a peace-time career as an advocate for the handicapped and a supporter of growing churches. He tells his life story—from toddlerhood to graying age—with an unselfconscious humility that gives his tales a homey charm, and his memoir is eminently readable from start to finish. At times, his autobiography feels a bit too homespun, and some of his narratives trail off into odd non sequiturs. But even this meandering makes up part of the book’s undeniable charm.  

A heartfelt testimony to the power of service, strength and faith.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1466258327

Page Count: 116

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?



This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet