Papa’s best and worst on full display, sometimes in the same paragraph.

GREEN HILLS OF AFRICA

THE HEMINGWAY LIBRARY EDITION

A Hemingway son and grandson present a reprinting of their ancestor’s 1935 work (Hemingway Library Edition) along with some illuminating supplementary material.

First-time readers of Green Hills will enjoy discovering the source of Hemingway’s famous praise for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as well as some images that appeared in subsequent fiction (“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”). Hemingway originally created the volume as a sort of nonfiction novel, an actual account of his winter (1933-1934) African big-game hunting safari in company with his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, and others. Her diary, which Hemingway employed extensively, appears in an appendix and includes accounts of the author’s battles with dysentery (grim details) and of an accidental rifle discharge that just missed his head. Shooting himself in the head, of course, would come some 30 years later, and in Green Hills and its supplementary material are some comments about guns and suicide—by Hemingway and others—that crackle with dramatic irony. (In some observations he later deleted—and included here in an appendix—is his son's judgment that his father was a coward for shooting himself.) Also on display (in the text and in the supplements) are Papa’s famous ego, his waxing lyrical about beautiful animals he has just killed, and his testosterone-soaked rivalry with a hunting companion (Charles Thompson, called “Karl” in Green Hills), whose trophies always seemed to surpass Hemingway’s. Also in the appendices are lists of his kills (most were for meat, he says) and altered versions of his published text (most from the collection at the University of Virginia), one of which claims writer Archibald MacLeish was a coward. There is also some casual racism (one woman, he says in Green Hills, had “niggery legs”) and a delightful passage about a lioness attacking a wildebeest’s testicles.

Papa’s best and worst on full display, sometimes in the same paragraph.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8755-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more