Eloquent meditations on fishing interlaced with piercing explorations of the inner workings of the newspaper business.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

A MEMOIR

The New York Times’ former executive editor, fired in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal, ruminates on fly-fishing, love, successes and failures in the newspaper game, and hooking and fighting and losing a marlin.

Raines, who has written on Fishing-and-Life before (Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis, 1993), describes fishing here as “the pursuit of the unpredictable.” Woven in among the fish tales are stories about his boyhood, his career in journalism and the courtship of his second wife, which ended his years as “a romantic freelancer.” Raines also tosses off asides on everything from baseball to the Bushes. Whether writing about fishing near Christmas Island or in Russia, he always returns to issues of pain, gain and loss, probity and mendaciousness, friendship and love. Raines comes across as self-deprecating and learned, fierce and confident; his writing is as brisk and bracing as the early-morning air on a remote salmon stream. The Blair episode, which dominates the memoir’s last third, eats at him. He says he never saw the memos and e-mails from others wondering about the young reporter, never was part of the decisions that led to Blair’s surprising promotion. When the scandal broke, Raines was determined to put the whole story before the Times’ readers—and was bemused when some of the fingers pointed his way. His critics declared that what he didn’t know he should have known. And so on.

Eloquent meditations on fishing interlaced with piercing explorations of the inner workings of the newspaper business.

Pub Date: May 2, 2006

ISBN: 0-7432-7278-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2006

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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...

NIGHT

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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