A timely, inspiring memoir.



The former San Antonio mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development tells the story of how he rose from humble origins to live the American dream.

Born to Chicano activist parents, Castro and his twin brother, Joaquín, grew up in a household where both were taught “the importance of political engagement” from an early age. They also grew up imbibing the “trifecta of…religion, cooking and stories” provided to them by their Mexican grandmother, who had first crossed into the United States as an orphan in the early 1920s. Their father eventually left the family; undaunted, Castro’s mother completed a master’s program in urban studies and worked at an internship with the City of San Antonio while raising her sons and caring for an aging mother. The difficulties the brothers faced at home forced them to learn “how to support each other without a parent around” and helped them overcome their ongoing rivalry. Determined to fulfill their mother’s wishes that they “reach as high as [they] possibly could,” they graduated high school near the top of their class and entered Stanford University. There, they continued to excel and won election to the student senate. Before the brothers went on to attend Harvard Law School, the author briefly taught high school in San Antonio in a working-class Mexican-American neighborhood similar to the ones he had known as a child. The experience left him determined to use his education to help ordinary citizens and especially Mexican-Americans. He and Joaquín returned to San Antonio to work as lawyers and begin careers in politics. Joaquín went on to win a seat in the House of Representatives while the author became mayor and then joined the Barack Obama administration as HUD secretary. Eloquent in its simplicity, Castro’s book offers a moving account of immigrant success that seeks to encourage all Americans to continue the fight against government injustice toward immigrants.

A timely, inspiring memoir.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-25216-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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 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...


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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