While more historical context would be useful, this is a provocative work of dogged investigative research.

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MERCHANTS IN THE TEMPLE

INSIDE POPE FRANCIS'S SECRET BATTLE AGAINST CORRUPTION IN THE VATICAN

An investigative report of the current pope’s “revolution” to reform Vatican finances.

The Italian author of two previous high-church exposés, Nuzzi has significant sources within the Roman Curia, allowing him access to “exclusive, never-before-published documentation” that reveals a truly shocking, shameful story of waste and corruption within the vast network of Vatican finances. Elected to the papacy on March 13, 2013, under the name of the saint of the impoverished and downtrodden, Francis set out with a mission: “How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor.” Yet how to square this goal with the fact that the Holy See is one of the richest organizations in the world, ruled much like the Mafia by aged, clannish cardinals who want to defend their turf to the death and create obstacles to effect change, efficiency, or transparency? Confronting the chiefs of the Institute for Religious Works, or Vatican Bank, and the APSA, the central bank of the Vatican, had first been undertaken by popes John Paul I (d. 1978) and Benedict XVI (who resigned just before Francis ascended), both to little avail. However, Francis seems to have world opinion behind him, and he moved immediately to clean house. He established an oversight commission to audit the IOR, thus exposing its unbelievably shoddy bookkeeping, and track the huge sums generating the so-called saints’ factory. He also aimed to get to the bottom of where all the money donated to the Peter’s Pence fund (charity offerings for the poor around the world) was actually ending up. The network of subterfuge is bewildering, and the barriers to transparency perhaps more than Frances can overcome, as Nuzzi delineates with valiant candor.

While more historical context would be useful, this is a provocative work of dogged investigative research.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-865-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2015

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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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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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