Despite the title, Evans’s memoir is more than relevant in the age of computer news; good reporting still demands what Evans...

MY PAPER CHASE

TRUE STORIES OF VANISHED TIMES

One of the great editors of our era chronicles his life in news reporting and book publishing.

As editor of the London Sunday Times and The Times, and later as president and publisher of Random House, Evans (War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict from the Crimea to Iraq, 2003, etc.) not only told the stories that changed the social and political world, he often was part of them. He began life as the son of working-class parents in 1930s Manchester, England. Early on he became aware of two things: the seemingly magical way in which newspapers would deliver a torrent of information, and the demarcations of success that were “ordained by the hierarchies of class.” Yet rise Evans did. The author is at his best recounting daily life in war-torn England and his early efforts to become a newspaper man. He lovingly describes the smells (“lead, antimony, and tin…hot metal marinated with printer’s ink” in the typesetting room) and noise (a cacophony of manual typewriters and animated phone calls) of his chosen profession. More important, Evans presents a narrative of stories and their consequences: the failure of the British health system to provide women with simple screening for cervical cancer; the official ignorance of the pollution that was literally choking the life out of Northern England; the willful failure to recognize and act on the struggles of children born without limbs after their mothers took Thalidomide. In these and many other cases, Evans exposed the “vast official carelessness” that permeated British political life. Of his life in America, which began in the ’80s, Evans says relatively little, outside of a few anecdotes of signing book contracts with such luminaries as Marlon Brando, Richard Nixon and a then-unknown politician, Barack Obama. A second volume, covering these years, would be most welcome.

Despite the title, Evans’s memoir is more than relevant in the age of computer news; good reporting still demands what Evans exemplifies here—honesty, courage and dogged determination.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-03142-4

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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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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