Well-wrought, honest and even more ambiguous than most family histories.

THE PAGES IN BETWEEN

A HOLOCAUST LEGACY OF TWO FAMILIES, ONE HOME

Regret is the theme of this candid, complicated memoir, which chronicles New York Daily News reporter Einhorn’s visit to the Polish family that sheltered her Jewish mother during World War II.

The author went to the town of Bedzin in 2001 to investigate her mother Irena’s story of being hidden by gentiles after her parents were rounded up by the Nazis and put on a train headed for an unknown destination. As the legend went, Irena’s father, Beresh, tried to persuade his wife to jump from the train with him, but she refused. He jumped anyway and headed back to Bedzin, where he collected his baby daughter from the elderly aunt caring for her and handed over Irena to a Polish woman he knew named Honorata Skowronska. Pleading with her to keep the child safe until he could return, Beresh gave Honorata “his money, his jewelry, the deed to his factory and apartment” before being arrested and deported once again. After the war, he returned from Auschwitz, retrieved his child and emigrated to Detroit. Whether or not he ever promised Honorata that her family could have his home in Bedzin is a murky question that drives much of the memoir. Irena never dwelled on memories of Poland, but the author hoped that her trip there would help repair a fraught relationship with her difficult, demanding mother. However, shortly after Einhorn first contacted Honorata’s son Wieslaw, who remembered Irena as his “sister,” her mother died of cancer, underscoring yet again the loss of connection with the past. Running parallel with her family saga is the author’s attempt to dispel the instinctual, stereotypical antagonism she felt for the Polish generation that betrayed the Jews, while marveling at the resurgence of interest in Jewish culture she found in young Poles she met. Einhorn delicately and movingly interweaves the personal and the epic.

Well-wrought, honest and even more ambiguous than most family histories.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4165-5830-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2008

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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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