A roadie’s engaging and often amusing memoir of life in the eye of the punk rock storm. Green, who served the Clash as road manager from their commercial breakthrough in England in 1977 through their emergence as an international colossus in 1980 or so, lets it all hang out, giving his fond remembrances of life on the road and in the studios. While Green was with the Clash, the band’s fortunes skyrocketed (quite coincidentally, the author gently contends). All through this account, we see the four band members in their unvarnished glory—vain, dope-smoking, lazy (except when it came to writing, recording, and playing music), curious, and terribly irresponsible with money. Yet despite such facts, Green’s slightly nostalgia-tinted memories will serve to further endear the Clash to their fans. As described here, we see the band as innovators and agitators and decent blokes. We also get a deft account of the creative process at work, of how the band extracted great music from ordinary experiences and sensations. Without excessively touting his influence on band members, Green (aided by British freelance writer Barker) reveals how his presence gently affected them: he introduced them to the music of country guitar legend Joe Ely (who opened for them on a leg of their 1980 US tour), for instance. Also evident is how other musicians of the punk era—Sid Vicious, John Lydon, the Dead Boys, Souixie Sue (who seldom comes off well in this type of retrospective), and others lesser known—affected the Clash and their music, for better or worse. That the Clash’s music is now known mostly as soundtrack fodder or as an influence for current acts makes the timing of this book most curious indeed. Better late than never!

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-571-19957-7

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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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 19, 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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