Frank, seasoned, expert observations on the folly of U.S. military intervention.

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

A MEMOIR

The life of a foreign correspondent who has reported from nearly 100 different countries.

A golden age of overseas journalism coincided with a time of “wishful thinking” by the U.S. military, from Indochina to Afghanistan. Born in 1935 and raised in the Boston suburbs to a Harvard ornithologist father who “worked in the vanished age of the gentleman amateurs who went around the world collecting animals and birds for museums,” Greenway did indeed enjoy a privileged childhood and lucky start to a career in journalism as a stringer for Time at Oxford. Becoming a war correspondent by chance, he arrived in Vietnam in 1967 at the first of many eye-opening posts through the decades, trips that revealed to him the horrendous toll of an increasingly horrifying conflict. Sagging morale among the American troops, suspicion by the South Vietnamese and truculence by the Vietcong intensified the overall paralysis. Greenway, who met many of the old journalist Asia hands—e.g., Michael Herr, Joseph Alsop, Frances FitzGerald—takes pains to delineate the array of opinions his colleagues held about the war. Joining the Washington Post in its Watergate heyday, Greenway continued to cover the war through the fall of Saigon. He also reported on the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge, the bombing of Laos (where, thanks to reporters like Tim Allman and Fred Branfman, the West became aware of the brutal effects of American bombs on civilians)—and other momentous events in Southeast Asia, while his wife and daughters lived mostly in Hong Kong. Greenway provides fascinating detail on the day-to-day travails of the foreign correspondent, and he fleshes out the back story of many of these shadowy conflicts—e.g., the long and charismatic reign of “mercurial” leader Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. The author was also the first Post bureau chief in Israel, and he later moved to the Boston Globe, where he provided formidable coverage of the fall of the Soviet Union.

Frank, seasoned, expert observations on the folly of U.S. military intervention.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-6132-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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