A well-researched, entertaining, and illuminating biography that should take pride of place over another recent Rosemary...

ROSEMARY

THE HIDDEN KENNEDY DAUGHTER

In-depth coverage of one Kennedy daughter who never gained the spotlight like her siblings.

Born the third child to Joseph and Rose Kennedy, Rosemary was slower to develop mentally than her siblings, thanks to an unnecessarily prolonged birth. Throughout her early childhood and adolescence, her mental disabilities were kept hidden from the press and those outside the family, enabling Rosemary to attend prestigious private schools, to be presented to the king and queen of England, and to enjoy a life full of social events. However, as she entered her early 20s, her inability to function like others her age and her unruly behavior presented increasing difficulties for her family, all of whom were in the limelight in one form or another. In order to suppress Rosemary’s mental health issues, her father ordered her to undergo a prefrontal lobotomy, an experimental operation at the time that had little conclusive evidence of its effectiveness. The results were drastic and completely damaging. Larson does an excellent job of portraying the Kennedy family, providing ample background on the political and economic rise of Joe Sr., the obsessions with weight and the need for solitude of Rose, the role the parents played in Rosemary’s life and the effect this had on her, and the interactions among Rosemary and her siblings. The author presents a well-rounded portrait of Rosemary before the lobotomy, a beautiful young woman full of spunk and love, and the destruction of that vibrant person as a result of the operation. Larson goes on to discuss how Rosemary’s younger sister, Eunice, used the family’s considerable wealth to fund research and services for the mentally disabled, a cause she avidly supported because of her sister.

A well-researched, entertaining, and illuminating biography that should take pride of place over another recent Rosemary bio, Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff’s The Missing Kennedy.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-547-25025-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more