A meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican’s legendary, enabling secrecy.

READ REVIEW

GOD'S BANKERS

A HISTORY OF MONEY AND POWER AT THE VATICAN

A dogged reporter exhaustively pursues the nefarious enrichment of the Vatican, from the Borgias to Pope Francis.

In one of his previous works, Mengele (1986), former Wall Street lawyer–turned–accomplished historian and author Posner (Warlords of Crime; Hitler’s Children, etc.) followed the money connection from the Nazi criminals fleeing the Third Reich to Argentina—and struck Vatican gold. Laundering Nazi booty extracted from the Jews, protecting Nazi criminals as they found refuge across the globe, providing hush money for egregious cases of pedophiliac priests—these are just some of the tentacles of Vatican bankrolling since World War II. Having overcome its aversion to moneylending and capitalism as being practices of Protestants and Jews after Italian unification, the Vatican later established a stabilizing appeasement policy with secular leader Mussolini in the form of the Lateran Pacts. Pope Pius XI’s financial adviser, Bernardino Nogara, diversified Vatican finances through the Depression era, entangling Vatican and Fascist ties. The Reichskonkordat, a series of pacts signed by Hitler, extracted taxes from Catholic churches and guaranteed the Vatican's silence regarding the Holocaust; it also funneled “blood money” from Nazi victims and supported the “ratline” for escaping Nazi criminals. Posner tracks the formation of the Institute per le Opere di Religione (the Vatican bank) in 1942 through its troubled survival into the present era, as it has battled accusations of mob ties, “gay lobby” scandals, WikiLeaks disclosures, lawsuits by victims of sex abuse and the insistence by the European Union on more transparency in the bank’s dealings. Pope Francis’ promises of reform are going to be closely watched. Posner bases his massive research on extensive interviews and documents found in the archives of governments and private companies across the world (the author was barred from the Vatican’s own Secret Archives).

A meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican’s legendary, enabling secrecy.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1416576570

Page Count: 728

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

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?

No Comments Yet
more