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Everything that, in time, made TR an irresistible force the curiosity and concentration, the energy, the ardor, the dramatic flair vitalizes this hugely detailed, over-long (700 pp), and rather florid account of his life up to the presidency. But Morris is also locked into his concept of Roosevelt's "rise," persistently seeing in the sickly, bookish, solitary boy and the lovelorn Harvard dandy the future leader of men. It's the colorful, charismatic personality we have here, then, largely minus the drifting, the despondency and self-doubt that afflicted him even after he "rose like a rocket" (in his own words) to leadership of the New York State Assembly at the precocious age of 23. But those who were there to see it or, later, to witness his exuberant embrace of the still-wild West, his crusade as New York City Police Commissioner to stamp out Sunday liquor sales, have provided Morris with great copy: the toothy grin lighting up a sodbuster's hut; the cheerful, chest-thumping retort to a German protest-marcher's "Wo is der Roosevelt?" "Hier bin ich!" Never mind that, in the latter instance, Morris keeps equally close tabs on his running feud with a fellow-commissioner; the detail pays off when Roosevelt, escaping to the wider fields of Washington, puts the Navy in position to strike at Spain in "three or four hours" as Acting Secretary to the consternation of his boss, innocently off seeing an osteopath. Nothing here is really new not the jingoism, the personal rush to arms that soon had Roosevelt second-in-command (and, of course, foremost) of the Rough Riders, the compromise with Boss Platt that enabled him to function as New York's Governor, the ambivalence about the Vice-Presidential nomination. And wherever Morris' interpretation differs from that of Henry Pringle, still Roosevelt's best biographer, his penchant for histrionics warps his judgment: "With fulfillment [atop San Juan Heights] came purgation. Bellicose poisons had been breeding in him since infancy. . . . But at last he had had his bloodletting. . . Theodore Roosevelt was at last, incongruously, a man of peace." The real lesson, willy-nilly, is in seeing the fun he had being a great, boyish nuisance.

Pub Date: March 30, 1979

ISBN: 0375756787

Page Count: 964

Publisher: Coward-McCann

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1979

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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