A brisk rendering of an adventuresome life.

WILDCAT

THE UNTOLD STORY OF PEARL HART, THE WILD WEST'S MOST NOTORIOUS WOMAN BANDIT

Daring gambits in the Wild West.

Boessenecker, a historian of the Western frontier who has written about a host of pioneer outlaws, cuts through myths and misinformation to offer a colorful, well-researched biography of Canadian-born Lillie Naomi Davy (1871-1935), who became legendary as the tough-talking, gender-defying bandit Pearl Hart. Escaping an abusive, drunken father, Lillie, age 13, and her 11-year-old sister, Katy, cut their hair, donned their brother’s clothes, and ran away from home—only to return to their violently dysfunctional family and run away time and again. In the next few years, the sisters became involved with men who turned out to be criminals and, not surprisingly, abused them. Throughout her teens, Lillie was in and out of reformatories and prisons, but she and Katy were incorrigible. In Buffalo, where a madam who called herself Pearl Hart had committed suicide, 16-year-old Katy established her own bordello, taking the name of Minnie Hart. Lillie became a prostitute, plying her trade in Buffalo; Toledo, Ohio; Trinidad, Colorado, “a hotbed of prostitution”; and Phoenix, Arizona, where she, too, took a new name: Pearl Hart. Boessenecker recounts in lively detail the sisters’ amorous entanglements—Lillie, at 15, got involved with a 36-year-old bigamist and later eloped with an opium-addicted piano player who, she claimed, introduced her to the habit—and their repeated arrests, as well as the crimes perpetrated by some of their many siblings. The centerpiece of the story, though, is the bold stagecoach robbery that Pearl pulled off with the help of a lover. Needing money to travel to see her mother—her “dearest, truest friend,” she said—whom she thought was dying, Pearl saw robbery as her only choice. Conviction, imprisonment, escape, and recapture ended in a five-year sentence in Yuma penitentiary. After release on early parole, the woman celebrated in newspapers and magazines as a glamorous outlaw, “uniformly noted [for] her physical attractiveness,” retreated into quiet comfort.

A brisk rendering of an adventuresome life.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-335-47139-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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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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