Here’s what Bird couldn’t reveal in the sports pages about his back injury, his decision to coach the Pacers, his thoughts on fellow players and coaches, his honors, and more. Bird with Bob Ryan wrote Drive in 1989, but this one should win the tip-off. Only the first quarter of this articulate, candid book concentrates on Bird’s playing days, NBA to “Dream Team,” and is initially dominated by the back troubles that curtailed his spectacular career. We couldn’t know what kind of agony Bird was playing with or missing games for. Thanks to “with” author MacMullan, we learn the details of his condition, and how therapist Dan Dyrek became a more constant and intimate friend than any teammates, coaches, or rivals—many of whom, especially “Magic,” there are interesting anecdotes about. The pain was so bad that when he retired without fanfare in 1992 it was a happy occasion for this fierce competitor, and like a hick from French Lick, Ind., Bird removed his back brace, “took out my shotgun and blew it to pieces.” Because this superstar is genuinely, refreshingly shy, he didn’t want to play for the Olympics “in some kind of honorary role,” and he was embarrassed that his presence overshadowed the retirement of Parrish’s number and that fellow inductees in the Hall of Fame had to say “thank you all for inviting me to Larry’s party.” There are enough descriptions of Celtics and Pacers games, and playing against Michael Jordan, “Magic,” playoff teams and their coaches to keep basketball enthusiasts happy. The book is endearing for its humanity, however, as we see this poor son of a waitress and suicide realize his hoop dreams but put away his money and ego. (There is a foreword by Pat Riley.) Courtside seats to one of the game’s greatest, most driven and pained figures. (TV satellite tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-446-52464-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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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 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 19, 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...


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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