This beautifully written, impeccably researched biography does much to resuscitate French’s substantial contributions to...

MONUMENT MAN

THE LIFE AND ART OF DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH

The first comprehensive biography of a great American sculptor.

Award-winning historian and Abraham Lincoln scholar Holzer (1865: America Makes War and Peace in Lincoln's Final Year, 2015, etc.) offers a much-needed biography of the little-known American sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). The author begins his superb book with a stirring account of the 1922 dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. At the front of the large crowd was President Warren G. Harding and Lincoln’s son, Robert, while off to the side, “unrecognized by most,” sat the “thin, aging,” New England sculptor of the iconic, 240-ton marble statue, which is “now regarded as the most famous sculpture ever created of or by an American.” Black dignitaries, meanwhile, were seated on benches a “block away.” French was largely self-taught, and his supportive father enlisted instruction for his teenage son from the “accomplished watercolor painter May Alcott.” Afterward, French joked, he decided to become a sculptor. His “talent was undeniable.” In lavish detail, Holzer chronicles the development of French’s career. His first major commission was Minute Man bronze monument (1875) in Concord, Massachusetts, for which he received “rhapsodic reviews” and generous royalties from popular reproductions. His impressive The Awakening of Endymion followed, and then a commission to sculpt Ralph Waldo Emerson, who exclaimed, “That is the face that I shave!” With his sculpture of the renowned deaf educator Thomas Gallaudet, Holzer writes, French reached a “new plateau of virtuosity.” His “hard-won status” was now secure, and two of his sculptures, including the colossal Republic, were exhibited at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. In 1903, French was elected to the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and assisted them in acquiring crucial American works of sculpture. He accepted the Lincoln commission in 1915. Its dedication would be the “crowning moment” of “French’s long and extraordinary career.”

This beautifully written, impeccably researched biography does much to resuscitate French’s substantial contributions to American art.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61689-753-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more