An insightful and entertaining, if philosophically uneven, memoir.

ASSHOLE ATTORNEY

MUSINGS, MEMORIES, AND MISSTEPS IN A 40 YEAR CAREER

A lawyer recounts his eventful professional exploits.

Wood (Presidential Intentions, 2014) was a peripatetic army brat who grew up in eight different houses over the course of his childhood. His father, he says, was a highly decorated soldier whose intemperate drinking devolved into alcoholism after a tragic accident left Wood’s mother a quadriplegic. The author writes that he was a shiftless student, but he made it into the first freshman class of the new Franklin Pierce Law Center (now part of the University of New Hampshire), founded in 1973, and subsequently earned a law degree from New York University in 1977. He worked for more than 30 years as an attorney in the advertising and entertainment industries, running his own firm at one point. He also worked as the “chief negotiator for the advertising industry,” he says, overseeing its collective bargaining arrangements with the Screen Actors Guild. This memoir is more of an impressionistic collage of vignettes than a thorough autobiography, although it generally unfolds in a chronological, linear fashion. Many of Wood’s remembrances are intimately revealing; for example, he reflects poignantly on the deaths of his mother and father, and lovingly relates the courtship of his wife of 35 years, whom he met in fifth grade. The focus of his reminiscences, though, is his legal career, which had its share of drama. The book’s longest memory reads like a comic tale of espionage, in which he’s exposed to danger in Poland and Cuba while representing the Phillips Beverage Company. Wood’s prose is crisp and anecdotal, and he’s refreshingly unafraid to poke fun at his misadventures. Not all his stories are equally gripping, but many are lighthearted and amusing; for example, he tells of unintentionally paying $14,000 at auction for a cigar humidor signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Wood often draws lessons from his experiences, summarized in the concluding chapter, which seems infused with a misanthropic cynicism similar to his father’s, who said, “Remember this. People are no damn good.” However, contradictorily, Wood also imparts several tales of astonishingly good people, including a law school dean who volunteered to pay the author’s tuition. 

An insightful and entertaining, if philosophically uneven, memoir.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9988617-2-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Plum Bay Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2018

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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