The tale of a crime lord that’s as vicious, graphic and entertaining as anything out there today.

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MR. UNTOUCHABLE

A generation ago, Nicky Barnes was notorious as Harlem’s prime retailer of quality heroin. Now he tells his gripping story.

Of course, it must not be the whole story, but what there is smacks of attitude. It is a chronicle of Barnes’s thug life, complete with his crew, his women, his warriors and his enemies on both sides of the law. It’s low life living the high life, tax-free, with lots of freaky sex, many penthouse apartments, pricey cars and heavy bling before it was called bling. Barnes was featured in a lead piece in the New York Times Magazine and inspired the hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” Back in the day, he says, the city was his. Learning from the mob, he formed a Council to manage the distribution of drugs and eliminate any DEA snitch who was fingered by his potent counterintelligence. We learn, in pointed language, of booze, weed and guns. The ways of each mo-fo and of every ho is sharply etched. Eventually, his “continuing criminal enterprise” collapsed. (Insufficient family values, Barnes supposes.) The author went to federal prison and when he couldn’t run the Council (or his women) from the joint, he destroyed it (and them). Now, still proud of his superior intelligence, he is in the witness protection program. His fierce text says virtually nothing of the effect of his enterprise on the customers he supplied. That isn’t a concern in this brutal, scorching book.

The tale of a crime lord that’s as vicious, graphic and entertaining as anything out there today.

Pub Date: March 6, 2007

ISBN: 1-59071-041-X

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Rugged Land

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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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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