A gentle, affecting memoir.



The greatest baseball player of the dead ball era, and the most widely despised, tenderly remembered by his grandson.

Herschel Cobb grew up the middle child of alcoholic parents, his father a near-300-pound bruiser who physically and mentally tortured him until a heart attack put an end to the madness when the boy was 8; his mother, cruelly indifferent to the abuse, disastrously remarried and continued to administer her own brand of emotional pain. The only solace came from his Granddaddy’s  occasional visits, phone calls, letters and, most of all, from summers spent with the old man at Lake Tahoe. There, Herschel learned lessons in humility, persistence, charity, self-reliance and responsibility. By then, Ty Cobb was well past his baseball heyday, at arm’s length from his surviving children, alone with his fabulous wealth from prescient investments in Coca-Cola and General Motors. He appeared to acknowledge the hash he’d made of his personal life—“Hersch, it was my fault. It was my fault”—and he reached out to his grandchildren in a way quite at odds with his ferocious reputation. A large part of this narrative’s charm lies in the little boy’s gradual awakening to his grandfather’s towering achievements in baseball and to his controversial legacy: “Granddaddy, what did you do? Who are you really?” The question turns out to be not so easily answered. Ty, almost pathologically competitive, famously played with a sharp-elbowed, spikes-high intensity that earned him many admirers and few friends. Particularly for those whose image of the Georgia Peach derives solely from the infamous Al Stump biography and the ensuing Tommy Lee Jones movie, this portrait of the lion in winter will come as a surprise.

A gentle, affecting memoir.

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-77041-130-2

Page Count: 220

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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