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REVOLVER

THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE BEATLES

Nothing new for an overflowing table.

A wholly unnecessary retelling of the Fab Four’s story, from an author who fails to add anything that seasoned Beatles fanatics don’t already know.

Writer, actor and radio-show host Giuliano (Dark Horse, 1991, etc.) adds to his Beatles oeuvre (a second volume on Harrison is already in the works) with this basic runthrough of the highs and lows the four members of the Beatles collectively and individually endured; he is aided by his daughter Avalon. They begin with a dedication to the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which immediately brings to mind the most spiritual member of the Beatles, George Harrison. Indeed, the authors conclude with a touching tribute to Harrison, whose death is among the most recent events they cover. Unfortunately, they also include an ill-timed eulogy to Paul McCartney’s post-Linda marriage to former model Heather Mills, which is being dissolved just as Giuliano’s book reaches publication. The few scraps of new information presented emanate from Giuliano’s connection to George Harrison, but he fails to adequately explain his relationship with the former Beatle. There is a hint that Giuliano and Harrison bonded over spirituality: The dedication to the Swami offers a clue, as does an e-mail sent to Giuliano from a Krishna monk who met Harrison shortly before his death. But Giuliano’s insufficient clarification spoils what could have been an interesting addendum to a perfunctory retrospective, making this a needless addition to the welter of literature on a band whose magic is buckling under the weight of over-familiarity.

Nothing new for an overflowing table.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2006

ISBN: 1-84454-160-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: John Blake/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2006

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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