Occasionally self-indulgent but intriguing memoir by the now-deceased Moynihan, chronicling the time he served as a Merchant Marine aboard the Rose City.

In the author’s first—and sadly, last—book, he discusses his adventures as a seaman on a brutal and unforgiving four-month journey around the world. His father, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, pulled strings to find his son a place on a ship taking what seemed to be a pleasure cruise around the Mediterranean; however, the young Moynihan was shocked when the journey turned out to be anything but a relaxing vacation. Initially advised to hide his distinguished origins, the details of his parentage quickly leaked, transforming his search for adventure into a miserable, lonely existence. The author laments his treatment at the hands of his fellow seamen and doesn’t seem to ever overcome this self-pity. The second half of the book focuses on the increasingly difficult physical conditions aboard the Rose City, as well as the debauchery that occurred when the ship made port. Though the descriptions of booze, women and drunken antics may seem unnecessary and distasteful to some readers, Moynihan uses them to effectively demonstrate how, through these experiences, the disparate men bonded and became a unified crew. It makes for a sincere study of the life of a man at sea, eschewing the romanticism often associated with the lifestyle. Moynihan is a talented writer, wielding crisp and clear prose, and his emotions spill out onto the page but never overwhelm the story. He brings the narrative to a satisfying close, only marred by the fact that the author’s life was cut tragically short. An honest portrayal of a lonely life at sea, Moynihan’s adventures aboard the Rose City are exciting, but it is his overwhelming desire for acceptance that will resonate most with readers.


Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8243-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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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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