Her heart belongs to Daddy.

MY FATHER, MY PRESIDENT

A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH

The life of the former president viewed through the eyes of his admiring and devoted daughter.

In her literary debut, the former First Daughter finds precious little evil to see, hear or speak—certainly not concerning anyone in her family. Her parents (and grandparents and all other progenitors, clear back to prehistory when the Bushes were still in the trees) were the best. Her brothers are awesome. The author can’t understand why so many in the press hate Republicans. And Democrats are dirty campaigners. Daddy was an outstanding student, a brilliant athlete. Respected and admired and loved by everyone who ever met him. (Lots of people—even Secret Service agents—cried when he left the White House.) John Dean was “an arrogant little creep.” The booming economy during the Clinton years was due to Daddy. So was the fall of the Soviet Union. Iran-Contra was “blown out of proportion.” Newsweek had no business putting that Daddy-is-a-wimp stuff on its cover. Peggy Noonan takes too much credit for Daddy’s speeches. Lee Atwater had no idea that Willie Horton was black. She quotes her father: “All this Anita Hill stuff was transparently phony, in my view.” And Daddy did know how a supermarket checkout scanner worked. Daddy’s heart was broken when a storm damaged the Kennebunkport home. Jeb Bush cried when he thought Gore had won Florida in 2000. Daddy cried when his son won the White House. Daddy and Bill Clinton are now pals, though Clinton’s amity is probably just a ploy to woo some GOP voters. Arnold Scaasi designed a cool salmon chiffon dress for her second wedding. The author shuffles into her daffy deck of history some stories about her own vicissitudes (divorce, re-marriage, travel on the Trans-Siberian Railroad—whose sad amenities she compares with those experienced “in the Siberian gulags”). And with all the testimonials to Daddy she reproduces here, the entire volume becomes a Festschrift, her father’s visage a huge smiley-face.

Her heart belongs to Daddy.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2006

ISBN: 0-446-57990-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

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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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