Monumental scissors-and-paste production on the lives of Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Montgomery Clift. The five lives retold here intertwined with one another; four came to hard ends. Taylor, the survivor, arrived in Hollywood first, as a child star (Lassie Come Home), followed soon after by fellow child star Wood. Taylor found herself falling for brilliant Broadway actor Monty Clift, now her costar in A Place in the Sun. When Clift was revealed to be gay, she told him she'd always be there when he needed her—and he needed her often. Clift had unresolved mother problems he acts out with a fellow drunk/pothead/pillhead, aging singer-actress Libby Holman. When Holman read the Sunset Boulevard script (Clift had signed for the male lead as a failed scriptwriter studding for an aging Hollywood siren), she felt vast discomfort at the story's closeness to home and persuaded him to get out of the role. Meanwhile, young Roy Scherer, Jr., later known as Roy Fitzgerald, then as Rock Hudson, all milk-faced good looks and toothiness, signed up with voracious homosexual agent Henry Willson, who led him from bed to bed through the lower levels of B-pix to eventual stardom with Taylor and young genius James Dean in Giant. Dean, meanwhile, himself a bisexual, had been romancing Wood, his costar in Rebel Without a Cause—and then stir in Warren Beatty, Mike Todd, Richard Burton, Dean's car crash, Monty's drugs, Natalie's big dip, Rock's AIDS, and so on, if you're still awake. Parker offers not a single fact not already ground to pulp by earlier bios and the scandal sheets.

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8184-0539-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1991

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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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