Well-intended but best read by 60-something fans of Boston ball.

BOTH SIDES OF THE LINE

THE TRUE STORY OF A LIFE-CHANGING FOOTBALL MENTOR WHO BECAME A LONGTIME TARGET OF AMERICA'S MOST WANTED

Hit the quarterback. Hit the mook. This tale of crime and penalty focuses on a local antihero who did plenty of both.

Kelly, a member of the conference-winning Saint Don Bosco Technical High School team of 1974, tells two stories. The first is a fairly ordinary football memoir: the team owes it all to God and coach, and it’s made up of stock types such as “the guy who always talked the talk because he knew he could back up every word” and the boy who, “easy to talk to…is quiet, intelligent, and dependable.” In this case, the coach, Jack Clyde Dempsey, was an upstanding fellow who had an unusually sophisticated way of reading the field and the stances of the opposing players: “The offensive lineman knows when the ball is being hiked,” he says. “You don’t. Picking up on these clues helps you to neutralize his advantage.” Pop Warner or pro, a player can learn a thing or two from Kelly’s pages when Dempsey talks. There are fine turns in this aspect of the book, as Kelly reveals the scarifying effect of his mother’s suicide and the grit required of a kid growing up motherless and Catholic on the edge of a very bad neighborhood. Less successful is the second story, built on the revelation, mired in mounds of cliché, that Dempsey later moved on to being a hit man for hire, eventually a fugitive and a fixture on the FBI wanted list. There’s not much drama in what ought to be a tense, frightening situation, and the best words here again belong to the now coked-up yet eminently reasonable Dempsey and not the author: “If I hurt someone right away, then we’ll never get our money,” he explains. “But if I’m coming to visit someone three, four times, and they haven’t made a payment, well…things might get a little rough.”

Well-intended but best read by 60-something fans of Boston ball.

Pub Date: July 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61088-169-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Bancroft Press

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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