Kaplan’s coverage of this broad-reaching topic is as deep and diverse as women’s abilities.

THE GENIUS OF WOMEN

FROM OVERLOOKED TO CHANGING THE WORLD

The former editor-in-chief of Parade magazine pays tribute to women who have contributed indispensable work in a variety of fields.

Near the beginning, Kaplan (The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life, 2015, etc.) asks a pertinent question: “In our current era of assumedly aroused consciousness to gender issues, why do both men and women still assume that men’s contributions to society are the ones that really count?” The author does readers a service by spotlighting the achievements of many remarkable women. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Felix Mendelssohn had sisters with equal or better talent, but while Fanny Mendelssohn was able to publish her work, Maria Anna Mozart achieved little recognition. In the sciences, the sins are more egregious. Female lab assistants have often conducted breakthrough research only to earn prizes for their professors or to discover the basis of world-changing science that enables another prizewinner. As she searches for characteristics of genius, the author lists a number of requirements. The first is to have acknowledgment, support, and encouragement from a parent or mentor. Being naturally smart (whatever that means) isn’t at the top of the list; tenacity and determination come before innate intelligence. How many women are out there who never understood their full capabilities because no one ever mentioned it? From science, technology, and math to literature, art, and psychology, Kaplan presents a diverse cast, including those geniuses still at work—e.g., Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Donna Strickland, who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics. Who is considered a genius depends on who sets the rules; throughout history, that has been men. Refreshingly, as the author points out, there are now countless groundbreaking women paving the way for future generations, who will see power differently and demand to be taken seriously. “Once we expect to see women’s genius on display,” she writes, “the lack of it seems wrong and inexplicable.”

Kaplan’s coverage of this broad-reaching topic is as deep and diverse as women’s abilities.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-52-474421-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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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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