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

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MY REMARKABLE JOURNEY

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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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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BECOMING

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...

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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