A harrowing recounting of a shameful chapter in American history. Kessler (Journalism/University of Oregon; After All These Years, 1990) is writing as much about one particular immigrant family as about all those malevolent ills that lie beneath the surface only to burst into virulent bloom in times of national stress. By the early 1930's, and despite the Depression, Japanese immigrant Masuo Yasui could be described as a success. Emigrating from Japan at the age of 16, he'd settled in Hood River, Oregon, converted to Christianity, and come to own more than a thousand acres of prime land, a flourishing general store, and numerous franchises. Meanwhile, his son became the first Japanese-American to graduate from law school, while Masuo's six other children were either in, or en route to, college. But Pearl Harbor ended it all, although Kessler notes the growing anti-Asian sentiment in the preceding years: In 1922, the Supreme Court ruled that Japanese immigrants could not become naturalized citizens; the Oregon Alien Law made Japanese land-ownership illegal; and the 1924 National Origins Act defined Japanese immigrants as ``undesirable.'' After war was declared, Masuo's wife and most of his children were interned, while Masuo himself, arrested and not freed until after the war, lost most of his property, as well as his standing in the community, and later committed suicide. Masuo's son led the legal fight for reparations, his generation understanding how fragile their place was in American society and determined to ``prove themselves better in order to be considered equal.'' Now, the third generation, after an ``almost aggressive acculturation at the hands of their parents,'' struggles to find its own identity. A somber but illuminating reminder of the perniciousness of prejudice—and of the terrible toll it exacts. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-41426-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1993

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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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