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Unsurprising but perfectly competent and seamlessly of a piece with her Living History (2003). And will Hillary run? The...

Former Secretary of State Clinton tells—well, if not all, at least what she and her “book team” think we ought to know.

If this memoir of diplomatic service lacks the preening self-regard of Henry Kissinger’s and the technocratic certainty of Dean Acheson’s, it has all the requisite evenhandedness: Readers have the sense that there’s not a sentence in it that hasn’t been vetted, measured and adjusted for maximal blandness. The news that has thus far made the rounds has concerned the author’s revelation that the Clintons were cash-strapped on leaving the White House, probably since there’s not enough hanging rope about Benghazi for anyone to get worked up about. (On that current hot-button topic, the index says, mildly, “See Libya.”) The requisite encomia are there, of course: “Losing these fearless public servants in the line of duty was a crushing blow.” So are the crises and Clinton’s careful qualifying: Her memories of the Benghazi affair, she writes, are a blend of her own experience and information gathered in the course of the investigations that followed, “especially the work of the independent review board charged with determining the facts and pulling no punches.” When controversy appears, it is similarly cushioned: Tinhorn dictators are valuable allies, and everyone along the way is described with the usual honorifics and flattering descriptions: “Benazir [Bhutto] wore a shalwar kameez, the national dress of Pakistan, a long, flowing tunic over loose pants that was both practical and attractive, and she covered her hair with lovely scarves.” In short, this is a standard-issue political memoir, with its nods to “adorable students,” “important partners,” the “rich history and culture” of every nation on the planet, and the difficulty of eating and exercising sensibly while logging thousands of hours in flight and in conference rooms.

Unsurprising but perfectly competent and seamlessly of a piece with her Living History (2003). And will Hillary run? The guiding metaphor of the book is the relay race, and there’s a sense that if the torch is handed to her, well….

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5144-3

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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