A skillful depiction of the people and the scenes surrounding the killing of the champion of the civil rights movement.

REDEMPTION

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S LAST 31 HOURS

An encapsulation of the civil rights reformer’s life through the lens of the 31 hours before his assassination in 1968.

Investigative journalist Rosenbloom, formerly of the Boston Globe, Frontline, and Inc., reinforces the story of the end of Martin Luther King Jr.’s remarkable life with an integrated summary of the career that brought him finally to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in spring 1968. The garbage collectors of Memphis, virtually all black, were on strike. Earlier in the city, rioting marred a march led by King, who was the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the time. Though the SCLC was in the midst of planning a Poor People’s March in Washington, D.C., King, depressed and weary, felt compelled to return to Tennessee to lead another demonstration. The author details a pending injunction against King’s participation and the negotiations with unreliable and demanding gang members recruited as likely marshals and a stubborn mayor. Rosenbloom also concisely describes the quotidian bonding of King and his diverse associates, and he doesn’t ignore King’s relationship with his wife, Coretta, as well as his extramarital adventures. The personality and moods—often dark, sometimes frolicsome—of the supremely gifted orator and preacher are a salient feature of the author’s report. Also integral to the text are the late-afternoon activities of King's feckless murderer, James Earl Ray. The portrayal of Ray in his perch watching the civil rights leader at the Lorraine Motel is succinctly cinematic. The previous night was stormy as King spoke to a disappointingly small crowd, but his words were memorable. He mused on the possibility of a curtailed life, but, he said, he had “been to the mountain.” He was only 39 when he died.

A skillful depiction of the people and the scenes surrounding the killing of the champion of the civil rights movement.

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8070-8338-3

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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