A provocative but unpersuasive apologia for the Japanese emperor. Was Hirohito a war criminal? No, Hoyt says, basing his argument primarily on interviews with former members of the Imperial Palace staff: The emperor was ``a man of good will and peaceful intentions, caught up in the swirl of events of a turbulent period.'' Hoyt asserts that Hirohito intended his reign to promote peace in Japan and the world, and he contends that the emperor was manipulated by power-mad and expansionist generals, deprived of information, kept a virtual prisoner in the Imperial Palace, and constrained from exercising real power by limitations established by the Meiji Constitution. Hoyt points out, however, that Hirohito was capable of affecting Japanese political development, most spectacularly during the ``2-26-36 Incident,'' in which junior army officers murdered members of Japan's cabinet and very nearly took control of the government—until Hirohito intervened. The author also admits that Hirohito failed to intervene during much of the Pacific War, and even got ``caught up in the euphoria of the moment'' and ``sent congratulatory messages to imperial general headquarters'' as Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Guam, Singapore, the Philippines, and China. Hoyt also argues (without citing any authority) that Hirohito was ignorant of Japanese atrocities during the war. After briefly discussing Hirohito's long but uneventful postwar life, and the meaning of his reign for Japanese contemporaries, Hoyt says that ``Westerners cannot expect the Japanese to wear sackcloth and ashes forever'' in remorse over the war; justifies the failure of Japan's educational system to teach the truth about Japanese atrocities; and suggests that ``it would be a good idea'' for the world to ``stop trying to remind Japan'' about the war. Well written, but Hoyt adds little here to our knowledge of Hirohito the man, while his thoughts about Hirohito the emperor amount to an anithistorical polemic.

Pub Date: May 14, 1992

ISBN: 0-275-94069-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1992

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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 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...


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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