Georgia congressman Lewis (with journalist D’Orso’s help) crafts a passionate, principled, and absorbing first-person account of the civil-rights movement—dramatic, well-paced history fired by moral purpose and backed by the authority of hard time in the trenches. Lewis’s childhood was the quintessence of post-Reconstruction southern black life. This son of Alabama sharecroppers grew up in a rural shotgun shack, picked cotton, matriculated in a tumbledown one-room schoolhouse, and faced Jim Crow segregation on every trip to town. His adulthood is the quintessence of the struggle to break that oppression. Lewis’s itinerary during the civil- rights movement reads like a highlight of its most significant moments. You name it, he was there: launching the nonviolent student protest movement at the Nashville sit-ins, Freedom Riding through the Deep South, delivering the March on Washington’s most controversial speech, serving time in Mississippi’s infamously brutal Parchman prison, organizing the voter registration drive that brought Schwerner, Goodman, and Cheney to Mississippi, marching in Birmingham in 1963 and Selma in 1965. Lewis served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and his analysis of rivalries between SNCC and the more mainstream, bourgeois Southern Christian Leadership Conference (headed by Martin Luther King) and his candid assessment of notable players (King, Stokely Carmichael, Julian Bond) serve as reminders of the movement’s complexity. Gut-wrenching firsthand descriptions revisit the appalling brutality endured by demonstrators (Lewis suffered a fractured skull leading marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday). He memorializes not only the drama, but the patience and steely courage of “the days and days of uneventful protest” that laid the groundwork for big developments—and that risk being overlooked now. Lewis’s faith in Gandhian nonviolent resistance is unshakable, as is his devotion to King and to the thousands of working-class blacks who risked their lives confronting southern tyranny. A classic, invaluable blockbuster history of the civil-rights movement.

Pub Date: June 10, 1998

ISBN: 0-684-81065-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1998

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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 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...


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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