Texas-born Hagman, the son of Mary Martin of Peter Pan fame, tells of his life, loves, and liver.

Hagman, often farmed out to nannies and various schools, saw little of his mother after his first year. She’d married at 16, had him at 17, then opened a dancing school, traipsed off to Hollywood, won a Broadway role, and became famous for her strip-tease to “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” His brawny, hard-drinking lawyer dad tried to toughen him up, took him hunting with the old boys and cases of bourbon, tried to get him laid in a Mexican cathouse. Mother Mary remarried, but Larry couldn’t stand his stepfather. Father Hagman wanted him to be a lawyer and take over his Texas law firm, but Larry opted for acting. Later, his mother got him into Margot Jones’s prestigious theater group in Dallas. Says Hagman: “A lot of people criticize nepotism, but hell, it worked for me.” He quits college and takes up with Margaret Webster’s Shakespeare troupe. He works in musicals in St. Petersburg, Florida, then his mother gets him a small part in South Pacific, her big show. In England, in the Air Force, he mounts shows and tours them about military bases, dates 17-year-old Joan Collins. Later, he lands the part of Tony Nelson, an astronaut whose space capsule lands on an island where he finds a bottle containing a 2,000-year-old genie named Jeannie—and this becomes the long-running TV comedy I Dream of Jeannie. At 34, he crashes from quitting amphetamines and tobacco at once, but soon tries LSD, which he praises for its spiritual visions and lasting insights. The memoir’s highlights are about his role in Dallas and his refusing to tell even the Queen of England who shot J.R. Although he gives up alcohol at 62, his drinking leads to a cirrhotic liver and a transplant, which brings its own visions of the life force.

Sheer charm.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2001

ISBN: 0-7432-2181-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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 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...


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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