The United States is late in coming to soccer’s fold, and this snappy introduction is a good way to get up to speed.

KICK-OFF

A sprightly, often appalling history of soccer, with an emphasis on the organized game epitomized by the World Cup.

Soccer is huge, a global sport with a supercolossal fan base. And it is frequently unhinged, both on the pitch and in the stands. This nutshell history does service to both, capturing the sport’s brute and finesse sides. It does so in a staccato delivery underlain with a subversive sense of humor: “The origins of the football that we know today were lawless, ruthless, and, it would appear, wildly entertaining. It therefore stands to reason that religion and rulers did not take a shining to it.” This app deploys a timeline format, taking readers from the third century B.C., when the first instances of people kicking a ball were recorded—in China, where most everything was first recorded—up through the 1962 World Cup. This was perhaps the ugliest game ever played, yet at this remove, the clip of the game feels more like farce than mayhem. Tooling around the app is as simple as cruising the timeline, with embedded video clips going back to the late-19th century. Scrolling is either vertical within an article or horizontal to get from section to section, a subtle touch that gives pleasing variety to the experience. Archival background photographs support the jazzy narrative, which can occasionally feel a little too telegraphic—“Brazil’s young star, Pelé, who impressed in the ’58 World Cup”—and there is still tidying to be done on the editorial side: “In the final, Brazil were final without Pelé.” Too true.

The United States is late in coming to soccer’s fold, and this snappy introduction is a good way to get up to speed.

Pub Date: May 3, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Leading Brands Media

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

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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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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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