A quiet but compelling case for working in policy research and advocacy.

LOVING AND LEAVING WASHINGTON

REFLECTIONS ON PUBLIC SERVICE

A dedicated public servant recounts his bicoastal career working in European security, economic policy, education, and other arenas.

Born to Yiddish-speaking immigrants in Buffalo, Yochelson, the founder and president of Building Engineering and Science Talent, was 17 when he heard John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural exhortation to “ask what you can do for your country." He begins his patient memoir with this anecdote to underscore that at the time, the best and the brightest were attracted to public service; “surrounded by strivers,” Yochelson wanted to be “a striver too.” His experiences at prestigious schools, from Yale (which included a year abroad in France) to Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, equipped him with the education for government service, derailed temporarily by his entrance in the Army in 1966. He was sure to be sent to Vietnam yet loath to shirk his duty, a feeling made stronger by the fact that his father and uncles had served during World War II. Sent to Germany on his father’s connections instead, he “felt like a hothouse plant” in comparison to others who had seen active duty in Vietnam. His facility with the French language helped him win the plum assignment of writing a monograph for Jean Monnet, architect of post-1945 integration, followed by a fellowship at the Brookings Institute. Successive posts took him to the Center for International Affairs, in Boston; the State Department, in Washington, D.C. (he worked in Western European security at the time Henry Kissinger was secretary); and Georgetown University’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he raised funds and managed relations with VIPs. As his career “topped out,” Yochelson moved with his family to San Diego to raise money for uncovering minority and women of talent for BEST in 2001. In the final chapter, the author composes a fictional letter to the president-elect on how to reshape the current civil service framework.

A quiet but compelling case for working in policy research and advocacy.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61234-824-7

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Potomac Books

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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