The Last Promise

Hue explains the difficult process of coping with her husband Paul’s unexpected terminal illness in this debut memoir.
The author begins her book with a heartfelt dedication, immediately revealing that her husband did, in fact, lose his battle with cancer. This knowledge makes it both frustrating and admirable to watch Hue put her faith in the seemingly endless treatments, believing that her husband will get better and that their lives will return to normal. It all started with an ominous phone call, in which Paul, an Army translator, informed the author that he had to leave Iraq in order to get a proper medical examination of a lump on his neck. She frantically made a series of calls to loved ones as the reality of the situation set in, and she admitted that she didn’t want him to come home from Iraq under such circumstances. All the while, however, she remained calm for their young son, Tyler, and hopeful that things would work themselves out with God’s grace. Hue describes in straightforward detail the complexities of Paul’s diagnosis and treatment plan, even going so far as to include pages of transcribed conversations between Paul and his doctors. As the situation grows increasingly bleak, Hue’s voice remains composed, optimistic and informative. However, the memoir’s emotional quality is sometimes suppressed by the narration’s sterile tone, particularly in the first few chapters; some readers may find the long passages of clinical language detailing the treatment plans difficult to get through. However, when Hue digs deeper into the devastating details of her husband’s decline (“The nurses said that singing was his way of dealing with the pain, but it was getting harder and harder”), the memoir becomes incredibly moving. This book is particularly recommended for readers who have lost loved ones to cancer and who may be interested in the various coping methods that Hue employed.

An often touching memoir about the pain of loss and the strength one can find in true love.

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1499188141

Page Count: 182

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2014

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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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