Simple, appealing account of a woman's solo ski trek to the magnetic North Pole. Thayer's goal isn't the imaginary dot at the top of the globe that bedeviled Peary and Cook but, rather, the spot to which all compasses point, some 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Nonetheless, this is a formidable journey filled with dangers, including horrendous cold (wind chills of -100 F.), dangerous ice, polar bears, and exhaustion. What's more, no woman has ever done this before, and Thayer is 50 years old when she sets out. After 27 grueling days towing a 160-pound sled, she makes it. One reason is her fortitude; the other is a black husky named Charlie (``there was something about him I thought I could trust and I decided to take him with me,'' she writes in her unadorned manner). Charlie squirrels his way into Thayer's affections for good reason, since many times he saves her from polar bears on the attack. Thayer's encounters with these white-furred killing machines are terrifying. Once, she walks toward what looks like a cute cub only to find that it's a voracious adult; another time, Charlie's heroics involve locking his jaws on a bear's leg. Thayer never minces her fear (``the pit of my stomach was an ice-cube, even my knees were shaking''), and, at one point, she breaks down and sobs, but her eyelids freeze tight: ``There could be no more crying on this expedition.'' She endures storms, fog, starvation, thirst, and a desperate flight over cracking ice. Today, Charlie is snug on the homestead in Washington State, and Thayer is planning an expedition—with her husband—to the North Pole itself. Enough feminine overtones (tears, worry about eyelashes, plus the voice of a middle-aged woman) to make a solid, no-frills adventure for women as well as men. (Eight pages of color photographs—not seen.) (First serial rights to Cosmopolitan)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-79386-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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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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