Hamilton proves that you can take the writer out of the blog, but you can’t take the blog out of the writer.




A meandering history of a bohemian landmark.

New York City’s Chelsea Hotel has been a hipster hangout since it opened its doors more than 100 years ago. Twain, Sartre, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Mapplethorpe, Warhol, Dylan and Hendrix are among the dozens of major pop-culture figures who have made the Chelsea their temporary home. In 1995, journeyman author Hamilton took up residence and soon began keeping a diary of his stay, which led to his blog “Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog,” which led to this debut book. In addition to describing what he considers to be the interesting aspects of living at the Chelsea, Hamilton introduces us to such fellow Chelsea-ites as the flamboyant Japanese graffiti artist Hiroya, faded actress Vicky and her son Keanu and a painter/con artist named Bradley. He also reacquaints us with such contemporary Chelsea celeb squatters as Sid Vicious, Dee Dee Ramone and Ethan Hawke, reporting on their connection with the hotel, then offering thumbnail sketches of their lives and careers. Poorly structured, long on chatty gossip and short on genuine insight, the book is yet another example of the increasing number of disappointing books based on blogs. While the author’s escapades, musings and mundane day-to-day activities may work in a frequently updated online forum, they come off as flat and insignificant on the page. And the biographical sketches—which, for the most part, offer only slightly more information than Wikipedia—feel like so much filler.

Hamilton proves that you can take the writer out of the blog, but you can’t take the blog out of the writer.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-56858-379-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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