A fluffy diversion for celebrity-obsessed readers.

THE KARDASHIANS

AN AMERICAN DRAMA

A tale of Kardashian Inc.

If John Oliver devoted a show to the famous family, it might share a bit of the snark and incredulity of this report from Oppenheimer (RFK, Jr.: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Dark Side of the Dream, 2015, etc.), a prolific author of unauthorized biographies. Readers looking for gossip about the Kardashians’ present lives may be left wanting, but for lovers of 1980s prime-time drama, the author delivers with the origin story of the infamous crew. Anyone who has wondered how this “dysfunctional family with little to no discernable talent besides self-promotion” became a cultural phenomenon will enjoy Oppenheimer’s take. The author is clearly one of the unconverted, and the book feels like a companion volume to Kris Jenner’s 2011 memoir, an effort to annotate and correct the matriarch's own embellished account. He fills in the gaps and calls out Kris’ version as we learn about the doomed first husband, Robert Kardashian, second husband, (formerly) Bruce Jenner, as well as Kris’ climb to the top of Beverly Hills society. Robert, famous for his involvement in the O.J. Simpson trial, gets the kindest treatment here, with a close second going to third-born Khloe Kardashian. She appears as a child whose paternity might be suspect but whose innocence and guilelessness set her apart—at least to Oppenheimer—from the rest of the family. By far the most entertaining aspect, however, is the author’s blatant incredulousness at the history Kris wrote herself. He’s not buying it, quoting her memoir with eyes clearly rolled, featuring such caveats as “she actually avowed” and “suggesting…that she possessed a religious leaning.” The book concludes with an overview of the current clan’s net worth and doings as well as a chilling prediction of what’s next for the ever ambitious Kris Kardashian Jenner: a run for the White House and the ultimate ratings grab.

A fluffy diversion for celebrity-obsessed readers.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08714-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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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