Selective reminiscences from a Pulitzer-winning sports columnist that, though several bricks shy of an autobiographical load, offer a host of pleasures for fans of big-time athletics and celebrities—and of fine writing. A child of the Depression, the seventysomething Murray was raised in Hartford, where a raffish crew of black-sheep uncles attended to his extracurricular education. Fast forwarding by a couple of decades, the author recalls a 1950's stint as Time's Hollywood correspondent, covering the oddly grouped likes of Humphrey Bogart, Billy Graham, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon (on the eve of his ``Checkers'' speech), and John Wayne. Eventually recruited as a founding editor of Sports Illustrated, Murray spent many years as a roving reporter for this weekly before moving on to The Los Angeles Times, where his syndicated column has gained him a national readership. While generally reserved about his private affairs, the author includes enough asides to suggest that life has not been all that easy for the Murray clan. Among other trials, he lost his wife to cancer (months short of their 39th anniversary) and a son to drugs; since the early 1970's, moreover, the author has labored under the gun of detached retinas that threaten to take his eyesight. But for the most part, Murray's anecdotal narrative features short takes on the notable personalities whose paths he's crossed during his long and interesting career—from Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain through Jack Kent Cooke, Al Davis, Ben Hogan, Magic Johnson, Don King, and Pete Rose. For seasoning, the author throws in acerbic critiques of the cities he's visited; dismayed reflections on what TV has done to, as well as for, sport; and commentary on how, so far as race is concerned, sport reflects the society of which it's a part. An engaging potpourri from a perceptive observer.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-588151-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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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 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...


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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