With the eye of a poet and the stamina of an Amundsen, Winter proves a delightful guide into unexplored realms. Worthy of...

BOUNDLESS

TRACING LAND AND DREAM IN A NEW NORTHWEST PASSAGE

Literate, luminous travels in the far north.

“Why read The Wind in the Willows when you can be Ratty or Mole?” It’s not quite on the order of “because it is there,” but it’s a good enough rationale for adventure and a fine note on which to begin. British-Canadian novelist and essayist Winter (Annabel, 2010) confesses to having harbored desires to wander in the great white north since landing in Newfoundland with her father. He longed for something that we might call freedom, writes the author, whereas what she was looking for was even less tangible: “a glimmering, a beckoning; something in the ice, something promising in the Arctic light.” Going to places that are well away from any tourist track and even the paths of most outdoor thrill-seekers, Winter finds that beckoning in such things as revelations about the differences between Greenlandic and Canadian Eskimos and the glimmering behind the eyes of people zapped by the endless light and space of the circumpolar vastness. Sometimes Winter’s exercises in self-awareness verge on overly New Age–y (“I walked, ran, and wept in those trails in the woods, asking sky, alders, and water to talk to me, to bring me back that hint of something majestic and all-encompassing”). But more often, Winter finds just the right note of learned wonder, taking on big philosophical questions as she roams across the land: when a geologist makes a map, does he or she kill the place being mapped before the first drill is sunk? Is it possible to live apart from and independent of the land, even in a place like New York City? Is a life without contradiction worth living?

With the eye of a poet and the stamina of an Amundsen, Winter proves a delightful guide into unexplored realms. Worthy of shelving alongside Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams (1986).

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61902-567-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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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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