Next book



Substantially rewritten, expanded and retranslated, this volume supersedes the late actor's 1989 All I Need Is Love. Kinski, who died in 1991, had a richly deserved reputation as one of the bad boys of European cinema, a volatile personality both on screen and off. Kinski offers vivid recollections of a horrific childhood. Born in 1926, he grew up in Danzig in suffocating poverty, his father a failed pharmacist who couldn't support his wife and four children. At 16 Kinski found himself drafted into the Wehrmacht as as a battered Germany threw adolescents into battle in a last-ditch attempt to stave off defeat. Kinski deserted repeatedly and ended up a British POW. When he was released, he returned to Germany, where in a desultory fashion he began to pursue a career in theater. Eventually, he developed a reputation as an enfant terrible of considerable talent and graduated to film work. He worked his way through three wives, having one child by each (including his famous daughter, Nastassja). The overwhelming majority of the book's pages are devoted to a seemingly endless string of sexual experiences: Kinski has sex with virtually every woman he meets. He even has a heated encounter with his sister. Unfortunately, he lacks the pornographic imagination and richly inventive language of Henry Miller, who seems to hover over Kinski's shoulder. The actor repeatedly collapses into sentimental clichÇ, straining for richer metaphor but to no avail. Moreover, he uses this autobiography as an opportunity to heap abuse on nearly everyone he ever worked with. Combine a monstrously huge ego (Kinski compares himself, favorably, to Jesus Christ) with an endless catalog of couplings, and the result is a dully repetitive and ultimately repellent reading experience.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-86744-6

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

Next book


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

Next book



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

Close Quickview