Throughout this animated and inspiring biography, Perry reminds us that the “battles Lorraine fought are still before us:...

LOOKING FOR LORRAINE

THE RADIANT AND RADICAL LIFE OF LORRAINE HANSBERRY

An intimate portrait of the artist as a black woman at the crossroads.

Perry (African-American Studies/Princeton Univ.; May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, 2018, etc.) feels strongly that Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) is an “important writer who has far too little written about her [and]…about her life.” This is a deeply personal book, less a biography than perhaps a “third person memoir” or “homage.” Perry infuses the narrative with a sense of urgency and enthusiasm because she believes Hansberry has something to teach us in these “complicated times.” Impressively, she tells her subject’s story in a tightly packed 256 pages. In her early years, Hansberry was radiant. The middle-class girl who grew up on Chicago’s South Side wasn’t the best student, but she had a “gift for leadership.” She displayed a sense of melancholy and loneliness as well as an insatiable intellectual yearning. After briefly attending the University of Wisconsin, she moved to New York, first to Greenwich Village and then Harlem, where she immersed herself in politics and 1950s activism with other intellectuals and artists. She married her partner in the radical left, Robert Nemiroff, in 1953. They divorced, amicably, in 1964, and Nemiroff would remain a friend, caretaker, and champion of her writings and legacy. Perry argues that we must deal head-on with Hansberry’s sexuality; it’s “unquestionable” that she was a lesbian, and the author discusses it in detail. Perry also smartly delves into the inspirations for Hansberry’s brilliant The Raisin in the Sun (kitchenette buildings, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes) and engagingly explores Hansberry’s profound friendships with James Baldwin and Nina Simone. In her later years, Hansberry was an American radical; radicalism “was both a passion and a commitment. It was, in fact, a requirement for human decency.”

Throughout this animated and inspiring biography, Perry reminds us that the “battles Lorraine fought are still before us: exploitation of the poor, racism, neocolonialism, homophobia, and patriarchy.”

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8070-6449-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

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...

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

Did you like this book?

more