An exhaustively detailed, definitive account of one of America’s most morally reprehensible political-corruption sagas.

GOLDEN

HOW ROD BLAGOJEVICH TALKED HIMSELF OUT OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND INTO PRISON

In-depth investigative report on the rise and fall of the embattled former governor of Illinois.

Chicago Tribune staff writers Coen (Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob, 2010) and Chase team up in this account of Rod Blagojevich’s attempt to sell the Senate seat once belonging to Barack Obama. Ultimately, this heavily detailed narrative serves as “a morality tale for the nation.” Blagojevich’s road to corruption began long before the 2008 election, and the authors meticulously track the future politician from his Chicago boyhood days all the way to the governor’s mansion. Blagojevich hardly had time to settle into the mansion before the media began typecasting him as an inept, hair-obsessed, comic figure—though as time soon revealed, Blagojevich’s lack of integrity was hardly the result of his hair, but rather, the big head beneath it. A man drunk on money and power—Coen and Chase report that “during his six years as governor, [he] and his wife spent $400,000 on clothes—more than they spent on their nanny,” and “$4,000 for a single custom-fitted suit, of which he bought more than a dozen a year”—Blagojevich is depicted as an affable con artist who could hardly manage his own finances, let alone those of the state. More jester than tragic hero, Blagojevich’s fall from grace confirmed what many constituents were beginning to see: He was a man so caught up in his act that he fooled even himself.

An exhaustively detailed, definitive account of one of America’s most morally reprehensible political-corruption sagas.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56976-339-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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