Readers will be delighted to participate vicariously in the globetrotting feast of an inquisitive glutton who remembers that...

THE MAN WHO ATE THE WORLD

IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT DINNER

A book-length quest to understand the 21st century’s international gastronomic revolution.

It’s characteristic of London Observer restaurant critic and occasional novelist of some wit Rayner (The Oyster House Siege, 2007, etc.) that he can find fault even with the agreeable task of eating his way toward the world’s perfect meal. On the one hand, his job allows him to sit in restaurants “eating extraordinary food and having Dom Pérignon squeezed into my mouth from a South Seas sponge.” On the other, he rubs shoulders with wealthy Michelin-star worshippers: “self-satisfied, self-abusing, arguments for involuntary euthanasia.” The combination of zest for glorious gastronomic abundance and the nagging sensation that he’s propping up a corrupt system of gilded-age excess gives Rayner’s book a real-world frisson that rarely finds its way into food writing. Giving readers the grand tour without forgetting how much everything costs, he jets to modern foodie capitals from the expected (Paris and New York) to the surprising but appropriate (Dubai and Las Vegas). Though the author is hardly above hobnobbing with star chefs like Jöel Robuchon and cover-blurb-providing Mario Batali, he’s not afraid to stick it to those he considers not up to the task; Gordon Ramsay, who blurbed earlier Rayner books, gets a good dressing down in this one. A sharp-tongued hacker and slasher of food and chefs he doesn’t care for, such as Moscow’s kitschy, obscenely expensive and underwhelming Café Pushkin, Rayner is a besotted devotee when he finds something he loves. At the heavenly Okei-Sushi restaurant in Tokyo, the tab was $475, “the most I had ever paid for a single meal, though in my state of rapture, it seemed irrelevant.”

Readers will be delighted to participate vicariously in the globetrotting feast of an inquisitive glutton who remembers that somebody has to pay for it all.

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8669-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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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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