A life intriguingly lived is engagingly recounted for today’s generation.

MEMORIES OF IRA I. BOGGS

A patriarch reminisces about the astonishing lifestyle changes observed during the last century in this debut autobiography.

Ira I. Boggs began his life in West Virginia. Born into a large clan of meager circumstances, he was educated in a one-room schoolhouse and helped till the family’s farmland: “In those days, children, women, and everybody worked with a hoe, an ax, or other tools—a horse and plow or an ox and plow.” Never shying away from hard work, he helped his family clear dense fields of lumber to add farmland. In 1917, he volunteered for the Army and fought in World War I. He avoided direct conflict but was exposed to the influenza pandemic. Upon his return, he worked in drilling, which took him to Texas and then California. The moderate California climate suited his fragile health, but he missed his home state. By the 1930s, he had returned to West Virginia to resettle near his family. He married, built his own home, and eventually had 11 children whom he provided for with a successful career in engineering. Over his lifetime, he witnessed a great change in technology, from planting fields barefoot to removing fuel from the earth. He survived epic clashes and even fought in a World War. In the end, it was the beauty and comforts of home that called him back to where he began. The book—written with debut author Dallas E. Boggs, Ira’s son—is a captivating glimpse of another time, offering perspectives and insights into an era when large families cultivated the land and were able to provide for themselves with a minimal amount of store-bought goods. Detailed descriptions of seasonal activities, such as putting up winter stores or rendering soap from pig carcasses, deftly document a fading knowledge and expertise. As a Boggs family chronicle, it is sure to be cherished by future generations of the clan. For mainstream audiences, the enjoyable book would improve through tightening the text and offering a more linear timeline. A few photographs are included, but the addition of a family genealogy and maps would aid readers.

A life intriguingly lived is engagingly recounted for today’s generation.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-68118-788-4

Page Count: 309

Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2019

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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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