Gracious, often touchingly ingenuous, at once panoramic and particular, Graham's autobiography absorbingly reconstructs her life of worldly privilege and affective deprivation as the daughter of one formidable man and the wife and widow of another, then chronicles her own rise to the challenges of captaining the Washington Post. Katharine Meyer—her blue blood diluted only slightly by her father's Jewish roots, her development stunted severely by a self- aggrandizing mother—survived the conventions and emotional isolation of a richly endowed girlhood to marry the irreverent Phil Graham, whom she celebrates for liberating her from her unspontaneous self and the weight of her family mythology. It was he who ``put the fix in our lives'' . . . and, shatteringly, put a gun to his head after escalating manic-depression climaxed in his running off with the latest of his unsuspected paramours, leaving Katharine to abject devastation. That she was utterly bereft of social confidence by middle age seems to have been both cause and effect of Phil's defection; nonetheless, she determined to go to work to preserve for her children the Post, which Phil had taken over from her father. (With characteristic modesty and felicity, she extols the ``originality'' of the friend who planted the idea that she could run it.) But also, she quite fell in love with the paper and the burgeoning corporate enterprise. It was an excruciating coming-of-age, because of her constant self-doubt and frankly poor management and because of the magnitude of the events played out on her watch—each revisited in reflective, defensive, parochial detail: the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, the pressmen's strike, the company's going public, major acquisition and personnel decisions. Graham's book, like her life, is harnessed to history, political and journalistic (even her best friends were famous). Her myriad stories—discreet to a fault—humanize a whole pantheon of Personalities. Her personal drama, however, upstages the rest. (24 pages photos, not seen) (First printing of 200,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 1997

ISBN: 0-394-58585-2

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1997

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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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