Both educational and entertaining, with a wry, ironic wit evident throughout.

THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND

A NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE SIXTIES

Relating her transformation from naïve girl to empowered political woman, the author also paints a larger picture of the 1960s on Capitol Hill and beyond.

Bolstered by contemporary statistics and an excellent memory, Nies (Writing/Massachusetts College of Art; Nine Women: Portraits from the American Radical Tradition, 2002, etc.) details the life changes she experienced alongside countless other women during a decade of secrecy, boys’-club politics and outright lies. Although handpicked from her blue-collar background to attend the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Nies quickly learned that secretary was about the highest title an educated American woman could attain in the ’60s. She fought to carve out a space for herself in politics and international relations, relying on persistence, the support of the nascent women’s movement and no small measure of guts. She gradually accomplished feats both personal and political, working with or against many famous, influential people along the way. In her punchy memoir, Nies demonstrates that equal rights for women in the workplace did not just happen, nor did they materialize as the result of benevolent male politicians finally deciding to do the right thing. Generations of female activists worked tirelessly behind the scenes to change the country’s mind-set about women in the workplace and to raise awareness of crucial issues including child care, birth control and sexual harassment. Many of the dramatic trials and victories she records have faded from public consciousness, even though today’s young women directly benefit from the efforts of their female forebears. The book’s narrative style—blunt, unflinching, honest—serves the story well, and Nies refuses to gloss over her own flaws and errors. She ably details the conflicting demands made on and by women and their plural strategies for resolving them.

Both educational and entertaining, with a wry, ironic wit evident throughout.

Pub Date: June 3, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-117601-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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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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