The book is well-written and loaded with photos but tends to be repetitive—for which the author receives only partial blame:...

GODDESS OF LOVE INCARNATE

THE LIFE OF STRIPTEUSE LILI ST. CYR

Zemeckis (Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque in America, 2013) chronicles the life of Lili St. Cyr (1918-1999), by all accounts the queen of the strippers.

St. Cyr, like so many in her business, scrabbled to break out of poverty. Luckily, her grandmother Alice remained a stabilizing influence in her childhood. She taught St. Cyr and her sisters to sew, an art they used in making costumes for the burlesque acts. What Alice also taught her was to go after what she wanted and forget whatever didn’t work. Unfortunately, St. Cyr never learned how to say no. She accepted every job offered to her, which kept her in the limelight. She also accepted marriage proposals, six of them. She didn't have the nerve to break up, though, waiting for her husbands to tire of being Mr. St. Cyr. Her work, her body, and her beauty were all she ever cared about. She was private, enigmatic, even shy, always emulating Greta Garbo. She never played to the audience, maintaining her air of mystery. The author has difficulty showing the inner St. Cyr because feelings were the one thing she never exposed. There were loves along the way, but an ex–hockey player was the only one she kept going back to, and he never proposed. St. Cyr loved meeting gangsters and marveling at their swagger; they adored and adorned her, and she ate it up. Friends were few, certainly no women (she never trusted them). Her dance routines played to packed houses, and it was her bathtub scene, using a well-placed towel held by her maid, that brought her lasting fame.

The book is well-written and loaded with photos but tends to be repetitive—for which the author receives only partial blame: St. Cyr’s life was one gig, one man, and one marriage/divorce after another.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61902-568-4

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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