Sheer charm.




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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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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