In a sharp and moving biography, Auricchio captures the essence of the “French hero of the American Revolution—the Hero of...

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THE MARQUIS

LAFAYETTE RECONSIDERED

A new biography of the Marquis, as well as a serious study of the differences between two of the most important revolutions of the millennium.

Gilbert du Motier, aka Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), is one of America’s great Revolutionary heroes, but Auricchio (Adelaide Labille-Guiard: Artist in the Age of Revolution, 2009) explains the mixed reviews he received during his homeland’s revolution. Though Lafayette was a member of the nobility, as a non-Parisian, he was not readily accepted at court—until he married Adrienne de Noailles, whose family not only opened doors, but also, by their untimely deaths, left him a very rich man. When he heard of the American struggle for freedom, he knew it was his destiny to assist. His wealth and ties to France’s government helped ensure his appointment to the staff of Gen. George Washington. The attachment between him and Washington is well-documented, with the Army’s leader tempering the zeal of the young hothead. The real enlightenment of the man begins with Lafayette’s role in the French Revolution. Here, Auricchio picks up the devotion of the young hero as he was expecting to return to the adulation of his countrymen. His moderation served only to defeat him; even his Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was considered too radical. At first, he was a calming factor, but neither the left nor the right accepted him; he was either too radical or too conservative. France was not a new country like America with a clean slate to build a radical new government; she relied on her traditions and royalty and rejected the idea of constitutional monarchy and, with it, Lafayette.

In a sharp and moving biography, Auricchio captures the essence of the “French hero of the American Revolution—the Hero of Two Worlds, the Apostle of Liberty.”

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0307267559

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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