In the best-selling And So It Goes (1986), Ellerbee chronicled her career in TV through her tenure at NBC News. Here, she ranges loosely over events preceding and following those years and also includes some essays/meditations on love, the politics of the Sixties, the changing role of women, and the meaning of life as distilled at its midpoint by this survivor of ``five networks and four marriages.'' Television, not surprisingly, emerges as Ellerbee's lifelong demon-lover. She deplores what TV has done to family and social life-replacing discourse, turning lazy, generous holiday dinners to rushed preludes to the kickoff. What it has done to political life is equally damnable, she argues, making campaigns into ``jumping frog contests.'' TV has also, she says, debased the standard of literacy in this country; and yet Ellerbee sees the medium as a major force for political change and mass education. In a more personal vein, she talks about her idealism-a summer waitressing job as a teen-ager when she first discovered radical ideas and activism, the excitement of the Sixties when it seemed the world could be changed by partying. She describes the aging and tarnishing of that idealism through divorces and career disappointments, and her attempts, in her 40s, to polish it all up with alcohol, which put her into the Betty Ford Center. The Maxwell House episode, in which Ellerbee was widely criticized for appearing in a commercial set up like a newscast, is defended as a last-ditch effort to save her fledgling production company- only a boob, she maintains, would have mistaken the news-show set and her reportorial delivery for actual objective broadcast journalism. Some funny lines coexist here with some sentimental clunkers, while incisive observations share space with clichÇs and ramblings. Grit admixed with gold, then, worth sifting through.

Pub Date: May 9, 1991

ISBN: 0-399-13623-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1991


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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


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