A deeply felt and lovingly remembered memoir.



An African-American culinary scholar remembers the years she spent among an “extraordinary circle of friends” that included James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and Nina Simone.

Harris met her greatest love, Samuel Clemens Floyd III, when she was a young French professor in New York. He was 15 years her senior and a former staff writer at Newsweek who taught English at Queen’s College. Youthful insecurity made Harris, a well-educated and accomplished woman, question their relationship: “I’m still not sure just how or why Sam settled on me; perhaps my naïveté attracted him.” Dazzled by Floyd’s sophistication, “quicksilver personality,” and the down-home Southern simplicity that underlay both, Harris was soon drawn into her lover’s remarkable circle of black luminaries. She made lifelong connections with writers Baldwin, Rosa Guy, and Louise Meriwether and made acquaintance with other black artists, including Simone. She and Clemens enjoyed the burgeoning New York City culinary scene of the 1970s and traveled extensively to Haiti, Africa, and France, where they indulged in lively intellectual exchanges and delicious food as well as the friendship of notables like economist Mary Painter and her chef husband, Georges Garin. Along the way, Harris developed a passion for food, which she discovered Clemens’ great friend Maya Angelou also shared. She began writing columns for Essence magazine and, eventually, published two well-regarded cookbooks. As the years passed and she grew more secure in her own identity, she and Clemens drifted apart. Yet her respect and feelings for him never faded, even after she learned that he had contracted AIDS and had deliberately hidden his bisexuality from her throughout their relationship. Peppered throughout with favorite recipes, Harris’ book is a warm recollection of life-changing friendships and personal connections. At the same time, her story offers a unique perspective on some of the greatest African-American intellectuals and artists of the modern era.

A deeply felt and lovingly remembered memoir.

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2590-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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 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 19, 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...


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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