ONE GENERATION AFTER

To convey the truth of the holocaust in its totality...(the writer) must add as well the silence left behind by millions of unknowns...One cannot conceive of the holocaust except as a mystery, begotten by the dead." As in the novel, Beggar in Jerusalem (1969) and other works, Wiesel gropes in the lengthening shadows to understand — his own kind of death at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, the death of millions and all he had known, the meaning of individual and Jewish survival. Again his approach is deliberately scattered — fantastic dialogues with the dead and his own abstracted awarenesses; mythic appearances, real and apocryphal from camps, liberated Europe, Russia and Israel. And among the threads of Covenants sealed and broken, individual Jews restate a heritage: the prince-beggar riding forth to meet Death; an Israeli "atheist" commander who nonetheless felt "we were on our way to keep an appointment" in Jerusalem; defiant Jews dancing in Moscow streets. To be a Jew today, insists Wiesel, is to "testify. To bear witness to what is and what is no longer." He denounces young Jews (and Germans) who will not take account of the fact of yesterday's evils. ("Without Auschwitz there would have been no Hiroshima.") Wiesel's tales, lectures and commemorative griefs are moving, penetrating, often raspingly excessive — the result perhaps of attempting an honest stance before the inexplicable.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 1970

ISBN: 0805207139

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1970

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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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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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