A piercing work of investigative journalism on a celebrity scandal that continues to fester.

SOULLESS

THE CASE AGAINST R. KELLY

A thorough exposé on the alleged misconduct of R&B superstar R. Kelly.

Former Chicago Sun-Times pop music critic DeRogatis (The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side, 2009, etc.) chronicles his two-decade-long surveillance and reportage of Kelly, 52, in a fiery, shocking analysis. Drawing from a wealth of personal interviews, research material, Kelly’s 2012 memoir, Soulacoaster, and harrowingly detailed episodes from female accusers, the author frames his assessment of Kelly with an account of the afternoon he received an anonymous fax charging the singer with having a “problem” with “young girls.” This accusation stoked his curiosity about Kelly and his unique music, which combined “lascivious bedroom jams with soulful prayers or pleas.” DeRogatis profiles Kelly from his birth in Chicago, through his unsettled childhood on the South Side, where he fell in love with basketball and music yet was plagued by a learning disability and sexual abuse. Despite numerous dead ends, the author persistently chased leads, uncovered startling evidence, and eventually presented a lawsuit-laden report on Kelly’s sexual misdeeds, which was largely ignored by the entertainment media as well as law enforcement and even accusers too afraid to come forward. DeRogatis remained undeterred and continued collecting damning information, including forwarding two anonymously delivered videotapes to police depicting Kelly having sex with supposedly underage girls. The bulk of the book showcases this scandalous material alongside meticulously described allegations and personal attestations from many women accusing the star of sexual abuse, coercion, and the intricate operation of a sex cult. The author’s relentless pursuit of Kelly has only proved fruitful in recent years, as the incriminations against Kelly have killed his music career and landed him in and out of jails and courthouses fighting a dizzying number of sexual misconduct charges. As much as the book is a juicy celebrity tell-all, it more importantly spotlights the women Kelly victimized and their separate journeys toward exposing their truths.

A piercing work of investigative journalism on a celebrity scandal that continues to fester.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4007-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 30, 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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