Hutchinson's courage is beyond question, but LaPlante never manages to make her any more sympathetic than her Puritan...

AMERICAN JEZEBEL

THE UNCOMMON LIFE OF ANNE HUTCHINSON, THE WOMAN WHO DEFIED THE PURITANS

An attempt to place Anne Hutchinson (1591–1643) as an early feminist, after being expelled from Massachusetts Bay colony in 1638 on charges of heresy and sedition.

LaPlante (Seized, 1993) begins with Hutchinson's trial before the Massachusetts General Court. Her real offenses, the author argues, consisted of building up a power base from which she challenged the colony's established church and government. LaPlante recapitulates Hutchinson's childhood in England, where her father capitulated to the power of the Anglican hierarchy. Anne, the second of 15 children, left England rather than bend to a church she considered corrupt. Convinced that she could distinguish those who were saved from those who were foredoomed, she stalked out of one Boston church rather than hear what she considered false doctrine. She began holding Bible discussion groups in her home, attended at first by other women, but increasingly by men. Convinced that her criticisms of the clergy would undermine the government, Governor John Winthrop brought her to trial. The outcome, LaPlante makes clear, was never in serious doubt. Arcane as the theological issues seem (her heresy was officially diagnosed as Antinomianism), the central issue was that a woman dared challenge the establishment. Banished from the colony, she moved to nearby Rhode Island, where she is today recognized as one of the founders of the state, as well as inspiration for its official policy of religious tolerance. Upon the death of her husband a few years later, she moved to upstate New York, where she and her large family perished in an Indian raid, having refused to arm themselves. LaPlante effectively details the intellectual climate in which Hutchinson flourished, and gives a vivid picture of 17th-century life in England and the colonies.

Hutchinson's courage is beyond question, but LaPlante never manages to make her any more sympathetic than her Puritan opponents.

Pub Date: March 2, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-056233-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2003

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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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