The artistic intensity of life suffuses this epic memoir spanning the “interior monologues” of a gifted American artist.

WRITING ACROSS THE LANDSCAPE

TRAVEL JOURNALS 1960-2010

Six glorious decades in the life of an iconic artist, poet, and self-described philosophical anarchist.

Culled from his own journals and more obscure volumes unearthed by editors Diano and Gleeson from the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Ferlinghetti (I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career: The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955-1997, 2015, etc.) shares his globe-trotting adventures spanning the revolutionary 1960s to contemporary times in Mexico and Belize in 2010. After having been abroad as a Navy captain in World War II, he earned his literary doctorate at the Sorbonne and married in San Francisco. There, he opened City Lights Bookshop, the Beat poet’s refuge through which he published many works by his friend and traveling companion Allen Ginsberg. In unrushed, conversational prose, his writings escort readers through the lengthier and much more heavily politicized years of his life in the 1960s and ’70s. In often wry and deliciously witty entries, he chronicles his ventures to post-revolutionary Cuba, getting arrested for anti-war protesting in Oakland, California, and his adventurous journey crossing Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express. Ferlinghetti ably captures his wanderlust on cross-country trains hurtling through Paris and Dresden, only to retire in disappointing three-star Verona hotels (“two of the stars must have burned out some time ago”). The author’s raw sketches and original works of lyrical poetry add depth and texture to a narrative already spiced with unfettered cultural criticism (“Paris is now a totally decadent museum of the past”), swatches of stream-of-consciousness “running thoughts,” internal observations, and “curious sexual Italian stories.” Readers curious about how Ferlinghetti’s mind works will find this whirlwind ride through Europe and beyond the ultimate vicarious escape, as his anecdotal musings hover over a richly savored life enjoyed without regret or misgivings.

The artistic intensity of life suffuses this epic memoir spanning the “interior monologues” of a gifted American artist.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63149-001-9

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more