Sadeghian’s life of contrasts will interest many readers.

THEY CALL ME FERO

REFLECTIONS AND RECOLLECTIONS OF AN IRANIAN-BORN AMERICAN DOCTOR

With this memoir of growing up in Iran and emigrating to the United States in the 1960s, Sadeghian tells of a life of great contradictions.

The memoir can be divided into three natural arcs comprising the author’s childhood and university training in Tehran, his experiences in Britain and the United States as an immigrant physician and a final section on his retirement interest in mountain climbing, including expeditions to Everest. Sadeghian may be an everyday citizen; however, his life is rich with drama, while his writing is accessible and straightforward. Crucially, he provides enough information for those unfamiliar with modern Iran to understand the social and political circumstances leading up to 1979’s Islamic revolution. The child of an upwardly mobile judge, he was a youthful witness to the complexities of life under the Shah, from the growth of the middle-classes to the increasing oppression and poverty among the majority of the regime’s subjects. As a favorite son, Sadeghian is aware of his relative privilege, compared to his female relatives and friends. He speaks openly of the moral restrictions and unhappy marital choices available to many women, including his sister. This first section is likely to be of greatest interest to most readers. Yet, the author’s observations on the American medical system offer insight into the growth of HMOs and increasingly impersonal medical care. In the final fragmentary sections of the memoir, Sadeghian describes the sometimes horrific results of Tibetan expeditions. It’s difficult not see his concerns with mortality as more personal than professional. At times, his prose grows meditative, musing on the irony of his circumstances; here is a man who learned to climb in the mountainous regions of his homeland, yet Sadeghian’s remembered Iran—of cosmopolitan men and women, striking disparities of wealth and religion, and a complex history—makes the Islamic revolutionary Iran of today alien to him. Instead, he divides his time between a sunny American retirement and some of the most isolated peaks in the world.

Sadeghian’s life of contrasts will interest many readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-1453600047

Page Count: 279

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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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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