Chatty without being vulgar, a deeply admiring portrait of a lady the world is just now getting to know.

JACKIE AS EDITOR

THE LITERARY LIFE OF JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS

One of Jacqueline Onassis’s authors dishes kindly on her impressive editorial record.

To be published less than one month after William Kuhn’s Reading Jackie (2010), this book fleshes out the editorial career of the enigmatic icon who was the subject of inflated tabloid coverage throughout much of her life yet who proved in her later years to be a surprisingly humble, hardworking team player, first at Viking, then Doubleday. Lawrence co-authored three titles for Onassis during her era at Doubleday, including her first bestseller, Dancing on My Grave (1986), written with his then-wife, ballet dancer Gelsey Kirkland. As one of her authors, Lawrence had unique access to Onassis, and he depicts how determined, tenacious and loyal she could be—especially as the book and was criticized for its “salacious material,” yet “generated a heartfelt response from dancers.” Onassis proudly “felt she got it right.” Unlike the thematic approach of Kuhn, who asserts that she revealed herself in the kinds of books she championed, Lawrence lets rip the first-person reminiscences from those who knew and worked with her, such as Viking publisher Thomas Guinzburg, who first hired her in 1975 and fell out with her over the acquisition of Jeffrey Archer’s controversial thriller Shall We Tell the President? (1977); her various assistants, who shielded her from the hounding of importunate callers and who gush about her work style; and various collaborators of her books (e.g., Louis Auchincloss, also her distant cousin) who were disarmed by her low-key, politely inquiring manner and ready wit. Indeed, nobody says a mean word about this former First Lady who did her job well, holding on at Doubleday despite the seismic corporate changes. Lawrence demonstrates how Onassis grew in confidence and professional stature in promoting books and authors she truly cared about.

Chatty without being vulgar, a deeply admiring portrait of a lady the world is just now getting to know.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-59193-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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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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