Not even the excellent reportage rescues this account from the status of an overinflated, albeit remarkable, feature from a...

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SACRED GEOGRAPHY

A TALE OF MURDER AND ARCHEOLOGY IN THE HOLY LAND

An extended burrow through the sands covering a Middle Eastern murder.

Seven years ago, British journalist Fox stumbled onto an intriguing footnote in a Palestinian political journal. The note described an American archaeologist, a professor at Birzeit University in the West Bank named Albert Glock, who had been assassinated in 1992 after living among the Palestinians for many years. The layers of political innuendo that swathed the reference set Fox on a quest for the truth. Glock, it turns out, was a midwestern Lutheran minister who gradually strayed from Biblical archaeology—the study of the Holy Land for the purpose of reaffirming the truth of the Bible—into the field of secular, scientific archaeology. In particular, he became dedicated to the idea of establishing a Palestinian archaeology dedicated not to the “wonders” of biblical antiquity, but to the study of Palestinians’ allegedly continuous habitation of the West Bank. Glock was neither a brilliant nor a fascinating man, but he was undoubtedly steadfast: Until the day he was killed, he worked steadily toward his goal, with its technical focus on the detritus of daily life, despite the ever more convoluted political circumstances that engulfed him. Fox subtly and expertly traces the analogies between the conflicting theories about who killed Albert Glock—the Israelis and Palestinians each blamed the other—and the political theories that infect archaeology throughout the Middle East. His point is that no one can ever re-create the past with certainty, and that attempts to do so are inevitably projections of what one was hoping to find in the first place. The problem, however, is that there’s barely enough material here for a book, mostly because putative star Glock, earnest and dull, can’t quite pull his weight.

Not even the excellent reportage rescues this account from the status of an overinflated, albeit remarkable, feature from a Sunday magazine.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-5493-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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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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