Kieser, a Catholic priest who produces movies and TV shows, earnestly reveals his personal struggle behind his work. Born in Philadelphia of an Irish-Catholic mother and German- Lutheran father, Kieser early felt stirrings of faith and heard ``the call'' (``an earthquake within me'') during his teens. Later turned down as a Trappist because he talked a lot, he felt at one with the Paulists, who stress individual initiative and freedom of service in the secular world. His philosophy formed early: ``We find our happiness and fulfillment not by seeking them but by forgetting all about them in seeking the happiness and fulfillment of other people...we find ourselves by giving ourselves.'' Kieser fell in love with a young nun, Genevieve, who answered his passions not by sublimating erotic desires as he did but by entering analysis, having an affair with the analyst, leaving the Church and marrying her analyst. Kieser's first parish was in L.A., where he developed the idea for a half-hour Sunday TV program, Insight, which he produced and which went on for many years as a successful dramatic show that attracted the services of accomplished actors and directors. This led to an even larger dramatic format, a series of two-hour TV movies on contemporary heroes such as Cesar Chavez, Lech Walesa, and Dag Hammarskjîld. The two set-pieces of the book are shooting We Are the Children with Ted Danson, an ABC-TV movie about starving Ethiopian children, and Romero, which starred Raul Julia as Archbishop Oscar Romero, the champion of the poor and defender of human rights in El Salvador who was shot while saying Mass. Filmed in Mexico, this film clicked on its theatrical release and did well on videocassette. Honest and thoughtful, if not very exciting.

Pub Date: July 9, 1991

ISBN: 0-385-41919-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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