REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN

A BOOK OF SELF-ESTEEM

In the wake of such feminist calls-to-arms as Susan Faludi's Backlash (p. 1133), Paula Kamen's Feminist Fatale (p. 1137), and Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth (p. 389), Steinem's inwardly turned examination of how men and women sabotage themselves by suppressing the ``child within'' appears decidedly retro. Nevertheless, her reflections on her own and others' spiritual struggles may give a new generation of activists pause for further reflection. In the wake of Ms. magazine's sale and her own resignation as its editor, Steinem found herself, she says, with the time and inspiration to write a book she'd had in mind for years—a study of the psychological and societal factors that negatively influence self-esteem. The result, she tells us, was a heavily footnoted, scholarly report whose reliance on experts' opinions revealed Steinem's own deep lack of confidence, and inspired her to toss away her original manuscript and come out of the closet herself. Recounting her own early life as the daughter of a factory worker who divorced his mentally ill wife when Gloria was only ten, Steinem details the natural progression from a co-dependent relationship with her mother to an unconscious adult sense of being ``co-dependent with the world.'' Forced by her need to wall off her past, she led a life of outer-world confrontations until, through therapy undertaken as research for her book, she began to master her ``inner child.'' By including others' tales of self- actualization through a ``revolution from within''—the creation of a winning chess team in Spanish Harlem, the transformation of a housewife into an entrepreneur, etc.—Steinem illustrates how others' psychic journeys may lead in much different directions than her own. Still, much of what is recommended here will strike many as old hat—and, in the end, more interesting as an update on the feminist's life than as a practical aid to others. A piquant counterpoint to recently revitalized, outer-directed feminist fashion.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 1992

ISBN: 0-316-81240-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1991

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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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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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