The surprisingly dreary product of 15 years of painstaking research, Sweeney's first book is a flat biography of the legendary Apache chief. Cochise was undoubtedly one of the greatest warrior chiefs in Native American history, fierce in battle and a capable leader, and, as Sweeney notes, no book-length biography of this dynamo exists—making the inadequacies of Sweeney's account all the more unfortunate. The son of a chief, Cochise grew to maturity in the then-Mexican-ruled Southwest during a period of relative tranquillity. Each breach of the peace brought a swift response, however, and rapid spirals of retaliation and revenge hampered any prospects of a lasting cease-fire. The increasing Anglo-American presence over the years, with its own territorial claims, gave the Apaches even more reason to fight to retain their way of life. A particularly misguided effort by the US Army in 1861 to recover a captive white boy by taking Apache hostages, Cochise and his brother among them, ended in bloodshed and executions on both sides, and Cochise's War was on in earnest. For nearly a decade, Cochise terrorized Americans and Mexicans in the region with assaults and ambushes, showing consummate skill as a strategist, until finally hounded into accepting a truce and reservation life in the early 1870's. He died soon after, an old man at peace, even though his struggle was taken up subsequently by Geronimo and others. Extensive notes and full use of sources readily indicate Sweeney's depth of research, but a frequent repetition of basic facts and lack of editorial judgment compromise any sense of scholarly achievement. History becomes a record of troop movements and body counts, creating the dullest of chronologies, while hazy conjecture about Cochise's undocumented activities proves a slippery supplement to more concrete information. Lackluster and grindingly detailed, albeit sympathetic toward its subject.

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8061-2337-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1991

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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 19, 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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