Schindler's list of triumphs and failures as recollected by the Holocaust hero's unsung and oft-stung widow. Schindler shares firsthand impressions of her suddenly celebrated husband, Oskar, whose entrepreneurial, humanitarian efforts saved the lives of many condemned Jews during the Holocaust. Much of what she reveals about Oskar is unflattering, as she is intent on puncturing the myth that has evolved around her husband's life since the phenomenal success of Steven Spielberg's movie Schindler's List. She paints a portrait of a deeply flawed man who was as erratic, immature, and self-serving as he was generous and kind. While she was struggling to scrape money together to obtain enough food on the black market to survive, her husband was squandering it on women and ``small pleasures and on objects for which we had not the slightest need.'' Schindler's appetite for women was insatiable, and his wife learned early on to just grin and bear it if she wished to stay married. While she approached life warily, Oskar almost always acted impulsively in his personal affairs. He often became indiscreetly involved with lower-class women, yet when it came to dealing with the SS high command, Oskar could be at once ``engaging and determined.'' She traces many of her husband's undesirable traits to his turbulent fahter, whom she describes as ``a hopeless alcoholic who, in one of his awful drinking binges, raped his wife's sister and got her pregnant.'' While never diminishing her husband's efforts and accomplishments in rescuing Jews during WW II, her own humanitarian endeavors are the focus here. Often endangering her own life, she did all she could to keep ailing factory workers alive and out of the reach of the Nazis. A stark, strained account of a singularly courageous couple, at the point where black-and-white cinematography meets naked truth. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-393-04123-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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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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