An intriguing and depressing tale, related with great skill and compassion.

THE MAN TIME FORGOT

A TALE OF GENIUS, BETRAYAL, AND THE CREATION OF TIME MAGAZINE

Wilner’s debut restores the legacy of Briton Hadden, co-creator of Time magazine, whose partner Henry R. Luce systematically downplayed his contributions after Hadden died, at 30, of a mysterious infection.

The author became interested in this subject while editing the Yale Daily News, housed in New Haven’s Briton Hadden Memorial Building. (As an undergraduate at Yale, Hadden had been an editor, then chairman, of the News.) Reading the work of his eminent predecessor, Wilner was struck by its style: “rhythmic, compact, it practically jumped off the page—much like the impish voice of the early Time.” A student essay about Hadden won Wilner access to the Time Inc. archives, where he found a trove of material. He also interviewed many relatives of Hadden, Luce and other Time staffers, and he appears to have read every issue of the magazine, from its debut in March 1923 until Hadden’s death, in 1929. His solidly researched narrative follows both men from 1898—when Hadden was born to money, Luce to missionaries—but focuses on the years during which their stories merged, beginning in prep school at Hotchkiss and continuing to Yale and Time. Each was a ferocious competitor, Hadden always finishing a close first in their professional sprints. As Wilner portrays him, Hadden was furiously energetic and creative; he worked hard, drank harder and appears to have viewed each day as his personal Roman candle. The author believes that Luce and Hadden, though competitive, were also deeply attached—“love” is a word he uses to characterize their relationship. This did not prevent Luce from removing his friend’s name from the Time masthead following Hadden’s death (it was not restored until after Luce died, in 1967) or from, in Wilner’s word, “burying Hadden’s role in history.” The author does an excellent job of re-creating the tension, pain and jealousy attending Time’s birth and of showing how the weekly magazine has affected the profession of journalism and the packaging of news.

An intriguing and depressing tale, related with great skill and compassion.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-050549-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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