LOVE, JACK

Yet another JFK paramour! Is there no mercy? This is a lover with a difference, however, a woman whom Kennedy first wooed before he was president and even before he was married (though he was engaged) to Jackie. The author was a lissome, 21-year-old, upper-class Swede on vacation at the French Riviera when she had a chance encounter with then Senator Kennedy. They dined and danced and sat on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, where he confessed that he was to be married the next week but added, ``if I had met you one week before . . . I would have cancelled the whole thing.'' As we know, he did not cancel, but a half-year later was writing to Gunilla that he would be returning to Europe and would like to meet. The rendezvous was in Sweden and according to von Post, they fell into bed where his ``tenderness was a revelation.'' The romance went on for another few years, mostly long-distance, says von Post, while Kennedy struggled with his father's dominance and his own ambition. Father Joseph and the prospect of the presidency won, although JFK suggested at one point that Gunilla establish herself in New York City's Carlyle Hotel, later infamous as a presidential playground. Gunilla wisely refused, going on to marry a Swedish notable, bear children, be tragically widowed, remarry, divorce, and lose a child through leukemia. She identified with Jacqueline's similar experiences. But she kept the letters from and the memories of the riveting young Jack Kennedy and is sharing them with us now (aided by Johnes, the author of two biographies). A good portion of this book is also devoted to establishing her credentials as a ``good girl,'' one of JFK's true loves. A sweet but unconvincing effort to depict JFK as an only somewhat unwilling victim of his father's dreams. (8 pages b&w photos) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 1997

ISBN: 0-609-60095-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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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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