The compelling story of a continuing mission, rendered with sympathy and verisimilitude.

CHARLIE MIKE

A TRUE STORY OF WAR AND FINDING THE WAY HOME

A savvy political observer presents his report on some veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan after they return home.

With characteristic episodic verve, Klein (Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid, 2006, etc.) tells of a few stalwart fighters who apply the skills they learned in the military to address civilian needs worldwide. Now, their continuing mission (“Charlie Mike” in military jargon) is the easing of misfortune at home and abroad. The devotion to his fellow fighters is what impelled Eric Greitens, a potent Navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar with an Oxford doctorate, to organize a veterans’ group called The Mission Continues. Reading of the earthquake and chaos in Haiti, former Marine Jake Wood formed Team Rubicon and outfitted a forward operating base, complete with relief supplies, in a matter of days. For these former soldiers, public service is always the objective, and they deliver those who are best trained to effectively organize, deploy, and accomplish truly difficult jobs. These include veterans of elite units, sniper schools, recon intelligence, and other military organizations, and they readily transfer their unique abilities to civilian needs. And they care. Klein’s brief personal stories of these extraordinary men and women whose lives were marked by war are enlightening and powerful. He graphically depicts their training, their war experiences, and their efforts to cope with civilian ignorance. PTSD is often rampant, and many are haunted by the losses of buddies during combat. The most common hazard at home is suicide. Romances sour, and friendships and family relations suffer. The fellowship is often all that mattered—that and the job. “What worked was work,” writes the author. Ever the insightful reporter, he captures the conversational rhythm and vernacular of these remarkable warriors who have refitted their service to civilian life.

The compelling story of a continuing mission, rendered with sympathy and verisimilitude.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4516-7730-0

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more