A notable achievement in understanding as well as reporting that pays moving tribute to the men and their town.

MARCHING HOME

TO WAR AND BACK WITH THE MEN OF ONE AMERICAN TOWN

Journalist Coyne (Domers: A Year at Notre Dame, 1995, etc.) won the first J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award in 1999 for this thoughtful account of six young men who went to war, came back home, and then had to adjust to new challenges.

The author deftly keeps track of six protagonists and their hometown, Freehold, New Jersey, as the years advance from spring 1941 to the present in a tale that is both portrait and history. Now a New York suburb whose potato fields and orchards have given way to subdivisions and malls, Freehold then was a close-knit town where everyone turned out for the Memorial Day parade, watched the home team play baseball, saw the latest movies at the Strand movie house, and mostly worked at the carpet-weaving mill. The scene set, Coyne introduces the six young men who fought in WWII: Stu Bunton, a radioman on the USS Santa Fe who saw action in the Mediterranean and the Pacific; Walter Denise, a rifleman who served in France and Germany; Jake Errickson, a radio intercept operator stationed in Australia and New Guinea; intelligence officer Jim Higgins; Buddy Lewis, a private in a segregated colored regiment in Europe; and Bill Lopatin, a waist gunner who flew bombing missions from England. Coyne vividly describes their varied war experiences—Denise heroically rescuing the wounded, Lopatin flying more than the usual 50 raids—and their determination to get home alive and get on with their lives. When they did, Freehold was booming, and all six found work. But life changed in the ’50s, and Coyne poignantly details how the men and the town adjusted as the mill closed down, racial tensions intensified, the antiwar movement grew, and fire destroyed the heart of Main Street.

A notable achievement in understanding as well as reporting that pays moving tribute to the men and their town.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2003

ISBN: 0-670-87150-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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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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