DAVID BOWIE

LIVING ON THE BRINK

Despite his long-term access to Bowie and others close to him, British rock journalist Tremlett (Dylan Thomas, 1992, etc.) is stronger in its portrayal of the finances of the rock biz than in profiling one of pop music's most enigmatic figures. Born David Jones in 1947, David Bowie flitted about the mod and hippie fringes of 1960s London until he hit it big in the early '70s as Ziggy Stardust, one of the first of a series of adopted stage personas. By 1973, by dint of canny songwriting and even cannier self-promotion, Bowie was an international sensation who traveled with a huge entourage and embodied the decadent, high-living rock-'n'-roll lifestyle. While Bowie's concert tours and records were raking in huge amounts of money, he was seeing relatively little of it, and his musicians even less. This was perhaps as much the due to his enormous cash outlays for cocaine and limousines as to greedy management. Nevertheless, following the advice of John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and others, Bowie eventually wrested control of the company that ran his career (but as he belatedly learned, was not owned by him) and again reinvented himself, this time as a successful rock burgher, living in Swiss tax exile. Since then, Bowie's new albums have, by turns, been greeted by critics as crassly commercial or myopically self- indulgent. Fans and fellow musicians have been kinder, as evidenced by accolades at his recent 50th-birthday concert. Certainly, Bowie fans will learn a lot in this book: that despite his flamboyant gender-bending reputation, he was, for the most part, a voracious heterosexual; that he was a devoted and intensely private father; that his ability to get into and out of character might have stemmed from a family history of schizophrenia. This sober look at one of pop's most mercurial icons will no doubt send fans scurrying to dust off their Bowie platters and listen to them anew. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-7867-0465-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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