A pleasure for thoughtful fans of Old West history, revisionist without being iconoclastic.

RIDE THE DEVIL'S HERD

WYATT EARP'S EPIC BATTLE AGAINST THE WEST'S BIGGEST OUTLAW GANG

A ripsnortin’ ramble across the bloodstained Arizona desert with Wyatt Earp and company.

Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the like may be best known for the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, but, as trial lawyer and popular historian Boessenecker ably shows, that was but one episode in a drama with many moving parts. Some of it traces back to points east, where ruffians known as “Cowboys”—not at all an admiring term in those days, “synonymous with desperado, bandit, and cutthroat”—robbed and murdered with abandon. The presiding genius of one band was an Irish New Englander who joined the Army and found frontier New Mexico a congenial place to conduct his nefarious business, including cattle rustling, horse thievery, and other affronts to public order. The story of Billy the Kid figures in this history, as does that of Earp paterfamilias Nicholas, hard-drinking, opinionated, and sometimes in trouble with the law. Indeed, at points in this narrative, readers may need a score card to keep track of which side of the law Wyatt and company were on at any given time. By the time they went to war with a Cowboy named Curly Bill Brocius, they were vigilantes who themselves would be in trouble with the authorities, Wyatt having gunned down a quarry on the streets of Tucson without much regard for the niceties of a fair warning. Throughout, Boessenecker displays a fine eye for period detail: He notes that much Old West violence had a political dimension that makes our time look tranquil by comparison. It was made all the nastier by the “entertainment vacuum” that existed on a frontier without much to do except drink and brawl. Charges that the Earps took part in dark-side activities such as gambling “were inflammatory but true,” writes the author, good reason to stay a step ahead of the law and get out of Tombstone after the shooting stopped.

A pleasure for thoughtful fans of Old West history, revisionist without being iconoclastic.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-335-01585-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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