Not quite a KO, but an engaging story of a fighter that wins on points.

BECOMING HOLYFIELD

A FIGHTER’S JOURNEY

It’s not easy being champion, declares Holyfield, who has been heavyweight champ four times and held the undisputed cruiserweight title for years.

He started winning at the age of eight—more than a decade before he first met his father. After Golden Gloves contests, wins at the 1983 Pan American Games and a controversial bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics (he missed out on the gold due to a contested disqualification), “The Real Deal,” as he was dubbed, turned pro as a cruiserweight. Soon he bulked up enough to become one of smallest heavyweights in the business, always going for a knockout, the outcome that can never be argued. He was, and is, a professional, hardworking athlete, savvy and cool in the ring, frequently withstanding punishing pain. Holyfield assigns due credit to his people and blames only himself for losses. He even concedes that his 1999 fight with Lennox Lewis, which ended in a draw, could well have gone to the other guy. Presented with the aid of novelist and sportswriter Gruenfeld (The Street, 2001, etc.), the boxer’s memoir covers his born-again religion, his family, marital and extramarital encounters, childrearing, business practices, money and a misdiagnosed heart defect. The book’s main interest lies in Holyfield’s take on such memorable encounters as the Fan Man Fight, interrupted by a parachutist in the ring, or the Bite Fight, in which he lent a bit of an ear to Iron Mike Tyson. Boxing fans will especially relish his appraisal of such formidable opponents as Riddick Bowe, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis and George Foreman as well as Tyson. Holyfield’s ticket to fight in New York has been revoked, with allegedly “diminishing skills” cited as the reason. Now 45, ignoring well-meaning pleas for his retirement, the old Warrior continues to box. It’s his call, he says.

Not quite a KO, but an engaging story of a fighter that wins on points.

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4165-3486-0

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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