Though sometimes too slow and a touch, well, normal, Clinton’s memoir proves a treat for the many who love his work.

BROTHAS BE, YO LIKE GEORGE, AIN'T THAT FUNKIN' KINDA HARD ON YOU?

A MEMOIR

Uncle Jam’s funkadactic crusade continues in a book that, though less rollicking than a fan might expect, still kicks it.

“When I’m asked about something serious, I try to make jokes because deep down, I know that I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.” Thus says Clinton, the mastermind behind Parliament/Funkadelic, aka P-Funk, and the author of such classics as “Maggot Brain” and “The Electric Spanking of War Babies.” It’s not exactly Socrates’ “I know only that I know nothing,” but Clinton is a born, if rough-speaking, philosopher, as when he allows that, though he’s not so inclined, he never minded playing with gay musicians: “I don’t give a fuck who he’s fucking. Can he drum?” Clinton, with a helpful hand from pop ghost Greenman (co-author of Questlove’s Mo’ Meta Blues, 2013), recounts coming up on gritty East Coast streets, where, in between working as a barber, he engaged in various felonious acts while seeking fame on the Motown funway. That changed with his “introduction to three important letters: L-S-D,” along with the recruitment of players such as Eddie Hazel and later William “Bootsy” Collins, who took R&B, mixed it with rock, turned it into funk, and then took the whole enterprise into outer space. (Clinton opens with an anecdote in which Mylar space suits figure prominently.) Sadly—but fittingly, as it turns out—Clinton’s tale begins to limp halfway in, as acid-funk glory slowly begins to erode in the face of one lawsuit after another. He closes in the glow of a comfortable semiretirement tinged with a hint of sadness: “Kids today don’t know the difference between me and Snoop Dogg, or me and Stevie Wonder. Everybody who’s old is old.”

Though sometimes too slow and a touch, well, normal, Clinton’s memoir proves a treat for the many who love his work.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-1476751078

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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