Revealing details of this fraught era couched in an overly self-aggrandizing tone.

A MISSION FROM GOD

A MEMOIR AND CHALLENGE FOR AMERICA

The first black graduate of the University of Mississippi pontificates on his place in civil rights history.

In this somewhat hyperbolic memoir of his challenges to white supremacy in Mississippi in the 1960s, Meredith displays little doubt of his importance to the movement. Born in Kosciusko, Miss., in 1933, Meredith was the great-grandson of the Confederate legal officer J.A.P. Campbell, who later fashioned Mississippi’s code of white supremacy, and the son of a hardworking farmer with the “wisdom of a prophet” who inspired Meredith with a “divine responsibility to save the black race.” Inferiority to whites was not acceptable to Meredith, and nearly a decade in the Air Force proved a severe trial, especially when the only time he experienced fairness and respect was while stationed in Japan in the late ’50s. He vowed that to be a man, he had to force change back home. Completing a degree in political science at Ole Miss, the “holiest temple of white supremacy in America,” had been an early dream, and his case was taken up by Medgar Evers, Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP, and eventually settled by the Supreme Court. The Little Rock Nine had cracked open Arkansas’s Central High School in 1957 with the help of U.S. combat troops, and Meredith, disdaining King’s efforts at nonviolent civil disobedience, hoped for the same powerful display of federal force. He got it. Surrounded by troops, he stood up to Gov. Ross Robert Barnett Jr. over two fraught weeks in September 1962 as the state and its defiant white citizens staged an insurrection against the Kennedy brothers. Meredith elaborates on his becoming irresistible to women, black and white, his shooting in 1966 and his uneasy relationship with civil rights leaders and politicians, and he ends with an urgent plea for hands-on improvement to public school education.

Revealing details of this fraught era couched in an overly self-aggrandizing tone.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-7472-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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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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