A moving memoir about how “systems fail but food is revolutionary.”

In 2006, Hauck began an unusual volunteer project at a group home for adolescent boys in state care. She had conceived the project with her father, a social worker and co-founder of the nonprofit residence; after he died, the author decided to make the plan a reality. “Cooking at the House,” she writes in this highly affecting story, “would be a way to finish one item on my father’s largely unfinished to-do list.” A high school Spanish teacher, Hauck had no clear plans for her future, and she was burdened by an abiding sense of grief over her father’s death. “The project,” she reflects, “was less about retracing his steps than understanding the map of the world he lived in, to figure out how it might also be mine.” The boys—eight at any one time—picked the menus, she arrived once a week with groceries that she paid for herself, and they cooked and ate together for nearly three years. The boys’ food choices usually leaned toward pizza, stir-fry, and quesadillas, but once they asked for fried chicken, which Hauck had never made. Armed with a recipe from a friend’s mother, she soon realized that it was far different from what the boys had eaten. “Until the fried chicken, we hadn’t really addressed race,” she writes. “It was obviously always present, but we never talked about the ways race inflected our food, our bodies, our everything. Until the fried chicken, we cooked around it.” Hauck creates indelible portraits of the wounded, lonely, and disillusioned boys, some of whom lashed out in anger at a world that had failed them. When the residence closed in 2009 due to lack of funding, the director implored Hauck to write about her experience: “You have to tell the story. That something happened here. Or there will be no trace of any of it.” Hauck’s sensitive memoir honors the boys she nourished.

A captivating debut.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-51243-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Dial Press

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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 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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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.


A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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