A genial little tome, short on substance but with personality to spare.

The legendary broadcaster on his eventful life and times, assisted by Esquire writer at large Fussman (After Jackie: Pride, Prejudice, and Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes, 2007, etc.).

King (How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere, 2004, etc.) discourses entertainingly on his antic life and storied career, vividly evoking his Brooklyn boyhood and adventures in broadcasting in that familiar, avuncular voice, which is practically audible on the page. He admits to restlessness and a short attention span, evincing a passionate, devil-may-care attitude toward life that precludes deep introspection. In lieu of revealing insights into his character or his talent, King breezily states that he is who he is, and maintains that being true to that immutable “Larryness” is the secret of his immense success. As such, he releases a torrent of well-rehearsed anecdotes, corny jokes, dropped names and baseball trivia. It’s an enjoyable ride through an archetypal American life—the Jewish boy made good, a regular neighborhood guy who rises to the top through sheer gumption and force of personality. The most enjoyable sections concern King’s boisterous, Depression-era Brooklyn exploits with a cast of well-drawn characters, some of whom add their own perspectives to King’s version of events in funny sidebars. The author is unfussily candid about the less savory aspects of his life: the many marriages, his tendency to womanize, his serious health problems, the children he fathered but didn’t raise and the financial indiscretions that led to his high-profile arrest for grand larceny in 1971. King’s thoughts on the many celebrities and world leaders he has interviewed tend toward the trite and familiar, and his defense of his famous lack of preparation for these sit-downs is unconvincing. But it clearly works for him, and his autobiography is vintage King—lightweight but compulsively engaging. The man’s a pro.

A genial little tome, short on substance but with personality to spare.

Pub Date: May 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-60286-086-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Weinstein Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009


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



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

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