A well-crafted story about a commitment to conservation.

A VANISHING KIND

A MEMOIR OF DR JOHN WAMSLEY IN CONVERSATIONS

A maverick environmentalist recounts saving nearly extinct animals in Australia.

In 2003, Australia’s prime minister named Wamsley Environmentalist of the Year. Wamsley’s memoir, one co-written with Davey, refreshingly touches on relevant portions of the environmentalist’s childhood and zeros in on what readers want to know: Who is this controversial environmentalist, and what was his impact on the preservation of endangered animals and plants? In excerpts from recorded interviews, Wamsley says: “I would gladly give my soul to the devil, to roast in hell for an eternity, if I could save one species of wildlife in exchange.” Davey makes cameo appearances in the story, describing the environmentalist as “unique and disciplined.” Wamsley’s radical work drew strong criticism. A segment of animal welfare activists vilified him as the “cat-hat man” after he wore a hat made of a large feral cat pelt to an award ceremony. The shock value drove his point home that feral cats and foxes posed an existential threat to certain marsupials (among them kangaroos, wallabies, platypus). The book explores the hot-button ethical issue of whether killing one species of animal to preserve another is justified. The co-authors feel strongly that it is, and Wamsley refers to the practice in scientific terms (prey switching) and notes that he “only shot one cat” in his lifetime. In 1969, Wamsley created Warrawong, an animal sanctuary. The author also protected the indigenous trees and plants in Australia’s natural habitats. To his surprise and delight, certain plants that produced a continuous supply of nectar attracted native birds year-round. Wamsley went on to establish a network of wildlife sanctuaries across Australia. The book includes period photographs and editorial cartoons from local newspapers.

A well-crafted story about a commitment to conservation.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5043-2292-8

Page Count: 214

Publisher: BalboaPressAU

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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