A solid memoir of political lives from both sides of the spectrum.

LOVE & WAR

TWENTY YEARS, THREE PRESIDENTS, TWO DAUGHTERS AND ONE LOUISIANA HOME

A strangely compelling dueling memoir by the improbably matched political couple.

Chicago-native Republican strategist Matalin (Letters to My Daughters, 2004) and New Orleans–born Bill Clinton campaign manager Carville (co-author: It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!, 2012) alternate relentless takes on the events of the last 20 years—both public news stories, such as the 2000 presidential election recount that deeply shook their marriage, and private milestones like moving with their two then-tween-age daughters to New Orleans from Washington, D.C., in 2008. Matalin garners the lion’s share of space, as she discourses on events and personalities in more leisurely, mannered detail, especially the two years she worked as assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney (dispensing the standard talking points for the media meant, “it was up to you to make processed canned food taste garden fresh”). In his pithy style, Carville gets in some good digs of his own. For example, he recounts his simmering resentment at his wife for taking that same VP job in the first place, suppressing an uncivil urge to wish her “good luck on cutting taxes for rich people on her way out the door.” Both are funny in their fashions and respectful of and loving toward the other—rather incredibly, considering their vast ideological divides. In one illuminating tale, Carville tells of the post-9/11 Christmas holiday the family had to spend near the Cheneys in Wyoming, which he made the best of despite the fact that “we were surrounded by Republicans.” In spite of Matalin’s gushing praise of “Poppy” Bush, Lee Atwater, Rush Limbaugh and others, and despite Carville’s merciless jabs at their “boneheaded positions,” the couple’s revelatory account of Carville’s late-life diagnosis of ADHD and their work to rebuild their hometown prove miraculously touching.

A solid memoir of political lives from both sides of the spectrum.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-16724-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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