AMERICA'S FIRST WOMAN LAWYER

THE BIOGRAPHY OF MYRA BRADWELL

A dry, bare-bones biography of Myra Bradwell (1831-94), whose plea to practice law was denied by the Supreme Court because she was a woman, and who went on to become the publisher and editor of the influential Chicago Legal News. In telling Bradwell's story, Friedman (Law/Wayne State University) labors under two considerable constraints. The first is the paucity of original source material (Bradwell's family gave her correspondence with Mary Todd Lincoln—who was a friend as well as a client—to Robert Lincoln's estate, which destroyed it because it dealt with Robert's consignment of his mother to a mental hospital). The second problem is Friedman's apparent wish to fit Bradwell into the politically correct pantheon of feminist heroines. It's true that Bradwell worked hard through her journalism to initiate reforms ``in the areas of women's rights, child custody, the legal system, treatment of persons alleged to be `insane' ''—she was largely responsible for Mary Todd Lincoln's release from the mental hospital—and to make the Chicago Legal News the most widely circulated legal newspaper in the country. But, reflecting her era, she was also an anti-Semite; an elitist; a woman who distanced herself from what she perceived to be the strident and polarizing approach of leading suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; and a believer in the ``ethos of `true womanhood'—sensible and devoted mothers, wives, and daughters uniting together to ask of their fathers, husbands, and brothers the right to vote.'' Still, Bradwell's considerable accomplishments are revealed in her own writings, which offer an impressive record of more than two decades of legal criticism, advocacy, and astute business acumen. More legal brief than biography as the personal Myra Bradwell is subsumed in the political figure—but a welcome revival of a forgotten reputation.

Pub Date: May 17, 1993

ISBN: 0-87975-812-0

Page Count: 215

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1993

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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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