More than fluff, Taraborrelli has written the definitive biography of a family whose glory days may have passed but which...

THE HILTONS

THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMERICAN DYNASTY

A best-selling celebrity biographer chronicles the epic saga of a family as well known for its business empire as for its role as tabloid fodder.

Today, the Hilton name might be more synonymous with gossip magazine headlines than the now-ubiquitous hotel chain that has outposts in every major city across the world. No longer is there a charismatic figurehead to act as the family’s anchor or face of the company, as founder and family patriarch Conrad Hilton (1887-1979) once had been. We can only speculate how Conrad, a man of deep Catholic conviction and faith who was known to openly resent freeloading relatives, would react to the unseemly behavior of some of his heirs. Nevertheless, Taraborrelli (After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family—1968 to the Present, 2012, etc.) gives each Hilton family member his or her due. From Conrad’s tempestuous marriage to Zsa Zsa Gabor to son Nicky’s ill-fated and abusive marriage to a nubile Elizabeth Taylor, the Hilton name has often found itself mired in social controversy. All the while, the Hilton brand of hotels continued to grow exponentially, developing into an international juggernaut. When Conrad’s son Barron retired as CEO of the Hilton Hotel Corporation in 1996, the family’s control of the company remained mostly symbolic until Blackstone Group, a private equity group, purchased the entire corporation in 2007 for $20.1 billion. No longer is a Hilton family member steering the empire built by Conrad. Instead, the family controls the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to support various charitable causes and missions to fulfill Conrad’s vision of building a better world.

More than fluff, Taraborrelli has written the definitive biography of a family whose glory days may have passed but which simply refuses to recede into the background.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4555-1669-8

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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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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