Some stellar shots, a few slices and hooks, and a couple putts that hang on the lip.

THE SECRET OF GOLF

THE STORY OF TOM WATSON AND JACK NICKLAUS

An award-winning sports journalist charts the careers of and competition between Watson (the younger) and Nicklaus (the elder) as they dominated golf in the 1970s and beyond.

NBC Sports national columnist Posnanski (Paterno, 2012, etc.) scored numerous interviews with his principals over the years, but his text leans more toward the story of Watson; hovering nearby—always—is Nicklaus, whom the author declares golf’s greatest player. The author organizes the text into 18 “holes” (chapters), each of which is followed by a brief advice chapter—a sort of golfer’s guide to the game. These chapters have titles like “Play with Purpose.” Most feature Watson’s facile commentary and seem to have wandered onto Posnanski’s fairway like duffers in search of their lost balls. The principal interest here is in, well, the principals. We learn a lot about Watson: his difficult father (who never did like a shot his son hit); his obsessive, relentless practicing; his unsurpassed putting (a skill he lost later on); his right-wing politics; his bouts with alcohol when his career began to fade; his psychological makeup. We also learn about Nicklaus, though in less detail. The author reminds us of the Bear’s early-career weight problems, for example, and demonstrates the adaptations he made to his game as he aged. The golf-course battles between the two are among the highlights. Posnanski is at his best when narrating events, at his weakest when waxing philosophical. Occasionally, he clutches at cliché. “The fans were frenzied, the air felt electric,” he writes of the 1977 British Open battle between the two at Turnberry, a classic duel whose highlights readers can now revisit on YouTube. The author ends with Watson’s near-win of the Open in 2009.

Some stellar shots, a few slices and hooks, and a couple putts that hang on the lip.

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-6643-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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