An engaging and informative cultural history, on and off the gridiron.

THE LEAGUE

HOW FIVE RIVALS CREATED THE NFL AND LAUNCHED A SPORTS EMPIRE

A rich history of the rise of the National Football League from its virtual obscurity at its genesis in the 1920s to its position as an economic and cultural powerhouse today.

Former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Eisenberg (The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr., and Baseball's Most Historic Record, 2017, etc.) returns with the story of how five owners—George Halas, Bert Bell, George Preston Marshall, Art Rooney, and Tim Mara—refused to give up on the struggling league and lived to see (and cause) its current dominance. Thoroughly researched and gracefully told, the story begins with the background of each of the five, then moves chronologically through the early years of the league—struggles, controversies (among the most significant was the arrival of black players), adjustments (to radio and then TV)—to its full arrival in 1958, when 40 million people watched the Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants in the exciting championship game. As the author repeatedly points out, these five were fierce rivals, but they knew that to make the league survive and flourish, they could not destroy one another. So they compromised and changed rules to make the game more exciting; all would live to see the league’s vigorous health. (The final chapter deals with the deaths of each.) Although Eisenberg is admiring of the founders, he also recognizes—and highlights—their weaknesses. Marshall, for example, was a racist, the last to bring blacks onto his team, the Washington Redskins. Although the author provides some details about some key games (and iconic players like Red Grange, Marion Motley, and Sam Huff), the narrative is not a rehearsal of games but of the history of a game, a business, and five men who took a chance, lost money, and then found great success.

An engaging and informative cultural history, on and off the gridiron.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-465-04870-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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