Bowen, a man who made millions of dollars, and seemingly as many enemies, with his ruthless management style (Jerry Lee Lewis purportedly wanted to kill him), describes his life in this candid, if self-aggrandizing, autobiography. Bowen is best known for his role in facilitating the recent resurgence of country music. He started his career as a bass player but quickly found greater success as a producer, working with Frank Sinatra and his ``Rat Pack.'' He displayed what was to become his signature manic drive when he created a hit for Sinatra out of ``Strangers in the Night,'' a song that had already been recorded by another singer and was about to land in stores. Bowen recorded, pressed, and delivered Sinatra's version within a nerve-wracking 24 hours, beat out the competition, and gave Sinatra's career a major mid-1960s boost. Ambition (and a perpetual yearning for new challenges) drove Bowen from one record label to another. He was almost always successful, sometimes spectacularly so. He managed six Nashville divisions—including those of Warner and MCA—in just over a decade. Whenever he took over a label, he would fire and replace much of the staff, update recording techniques (he was an early proponent of digital recording technology), and encourage artists to take responsibility for the direction and production of their music. The book provides wonderful flashes of music history throughout, including Bowen's shrewd assessments of the sprawling, frantic music business and of major rock and country singers. Country music fans will also find interest in the measured jabs aimed at Bowen's business nemesis, Garth Brooks, one of country's biggest stars. Though an unauthorized biography might be more revealing, Bowen is honest enough with his audience to scare: It's like watching a Great White from inside a shark cage—readers will be fascinated, but happy they aren't closer. (8 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 5, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-80764-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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