Kahn—pugnacious world-class shipping magnate and survivor of the Nazi holocaust—presents a fascinating personal history displaying equal parts of bravado and bravery. As a young man Kahn was a neighbor of Anne Frank's and just a few years older than the celebrated child diarist. In his opinion (and he is expansive in his opinions), Anne might have lived if only the Franks had taken their fate in their own hands—as he did. After a particularly aggressive opening, in which he sketches in his present happy circumstances, Kahn describes his painful childhood. His distant mother abandoned the family when he was four; his father seemed to him an ineffectual blowhard and never earned his respect. A sad, difficult childhood, it seems, prepared Kahn for the necessity of living by his wits. The wily teenager, frequently with the aid of friends and strangers, Jewish and Christian, repeatedly eluded the Nazis, determined to get to England to carry on the fight, and convinced that ``doing everything in one's power to save one's own neck'' was ``the only reasonable'' strategy open to an adolescent alone and at terrible risk in enemy territory. The tale of his long flight across Europe is one of lofty adventure, punctuated by hairbreadth escapes and occasional sex. Kahn finished the war as a Dutch naval officer. Then his career took him to sea in the service of Israel, where, his faith in the Almighty damaged by the Holocaust, he found lasting belief in the Jewish people. His story ends aboard his yacht, with a faithful factotum preparing drinks in the background while the entrepreneur muses about his life. In a rapid-fire, tough-guy mode, Kahn (with evident writerly help from his collaborator, Israeli journalist and translator Halkin) speaks with the authority of a special kind of Dutch uncle. If there is more than a hint of hubris, it may not be entirely unearned. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 965-229-174-9

Page Count: 264

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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...


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?