A pleasant mixture of iconic and surprising shots—a photo book that is ultimately as much about the photographer, and the...

Don’t let the billing fool you. Though Kelley’s books (Oprah, 2010, etc.) are often unauthorized biographies heavily resisted by their subjects, this is a labor-of-love collection of work by the photographer she praises as “my best friend…a pal without parallel.”

First with United Press International and later with Look, Tretick developed his relationship with the first family into his own personal beat. It was the extraordinary access he gained with the wire service that led to the magazine hiring him, assigning him to shoot an amazing 68 different stories on the president and his family before it ceased publication in 1971. Though Kennedy remains known as the first “TV” president, the intimacy and range of these shots (on horseback, wearing a hard hat or an Indian headdress) reminds readers that in the era before the 24/7 cable-news cycle, a still photographer largely captured the public image of the Camelot presidency. Because “[i]mage was paramount to JFK,” the relationship that he and his family had with the photographer had plenty of push-and-pull tension; most of the revealing shots here are also the most intimate, the least guarded. Yet, as Jackie Kennedy (who was most protective of her children’s public exposure) said to the photographer, “There’s a small group of people who really loved Jack, and you’re one of them.” There may be some shots here that the Kennedys wouldn’t have approved (a few that they resented when published and others that they refused to permit Look to publish), but this book is by no means an exposé. It’s a tribute to a photographer, a president and a time when the former functioned as the world’s eyes into the latter.

A pleasant mixture of iconic and surprising shots—a photo book that is ultimately as much about the photographer, and the access he gained, as it is about its subject.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-64342-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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