A captivating story of yet another strong, brilliant woman who should be better known.

FREE THINKER

SEX, SUFFRAGE, AND THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF HELEN HAMILTON GARDENER

A history of an important suffragist that serves as “a quintessentially American story of self-making.”

Hamlin (American Studies/Miami Univ.; From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America, 2015) chronicles the life of Helen Hamilton Gardener (1853-1925), born Alice Chenoweth, who was involved with a married man while serving as the principal of a Sandusky, Ohio, teacher training school. To avoid the label of “fallen woman,” she moved with her lover, Charles Smart, to Detroit and then, in 1884, to New York City, where she changed her name. She joined the free thought movement led by Robert Ingersoll, “the great agnostic,” and became its most influential woman. Gardener was an early proponent of women’s rights, working to raise the legal age of consent to 16, giving women the right to own property, and attacking the religious and cultural biases of scientific research used to degrade women. Ingersoll mentored her, encouraging her speaking engagements and writing, including her books Men, Women, and Gods, and Other Lectures and Is This Your Son, My Lord?, which sold more than 25,000 copies following its publication in 1891. For two decades she was a regular presence at Ingersoll’s weekly “at homes,” which featured some of the most interesting people in New York. Her writing ability opened doors for her, especially her introductory letters in which she tried to connect to important persons. Woodrow Wilson was Gardener’s greatest connection, and her work lobbying him to help the passage of the 19th Amendment was indispensable. After Smart’s death in 1901, she went to Puerto Rico, where she got reacquainted with Col. Selden Allen Day, whom she eventually married. After traveling the world for a few years, in 1910, they moved to Washington, D.C., where Gardener became a leader at the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Her tactics to woo and influence Washington’s lawmakers were legendary. Throughout the chronological, passionately researched narrative, Hamlin captures all angles of her fascinating subject.

A captivating story of yet another strong, brilliant woman who should be better known.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-324-00497-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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