Entertaining reading for budding apiarists and armchair nature enthusiasts.



An intimate look at one woman’s experience with beekeeping.

After helping a friend of a friend with his bees, British writer Jukes decided to get a colony of her own even though she knew little about them. “I hadn’t even realized…that honeybees are different from bumblebees,” she writes, “that there are over twenty thousand species of bee in the world, and only a fraction of them make honey.” The author had a woodworker build her a special hive so she could establish her colony in a wind-protected section of her back garden. While she waited for the appropriate time to begin her new hobby, she plunged headlong into the complex history of bees and beekeeping through the centuries, and she shares her extensive research with readers. Though informative, these elements are occasionally dry. Fortunately, Jukes juxtaposes this history with her ongoing interactions with her hive, which brings her tale back to life. Readers share in her concerns about cold weather and how the new colony is adjusting to their nontraditional hive, rejoice in the abundance of new bees, and worry as the hive moves closer and closer to the swarming phase. The author clearly conveys the necessity of dedication, focus, and calm when handling bees, and she palpably portrays the moment when she was able to fully let go of her day-to-day anxieties and concentrate solely on her charges. She also interweaves a late-blooming romance into her story, which further sweetens the narrative. Throughout the book, Jukes portrays her experiences with vivid imagination and a spirit that encourages readers to think deeper about a creature that is vital to all life on this planet. “The honeybees opened me out,” she writes, “led me into a new understanding of the world and my place in it….Flowers, bees, weather, people—they’re all connected, all part of a larger ecosystem.”

Entertaining reading for budding apiarists and armchair nature enthusiasts.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4786-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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 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...


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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