The inspirational odyssey of an American hero.

DON'T GIVE UP, DON'T GIVE IN

LESSONS FROM AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE

A celebrated war veteran and Olympic contender shares his life’s lessons.

Not simply another rehashing of Zamperini’s (Devil at My Heels: A WWII Hero’s Epic Saga of Torment, Survival, and Forgiveness, 2003) incredible history, this second memoir, dictated to co-writer Rensin during the last year of the author’s life, brims with sage wisdom, learned advice and fond observations from his adventurous 97 years. Zamperini answers the most recurring questions asked of him during book signings and lectures, mostly pertaining to his adventures after his service in World War II, his secret to living honorably and what role his faith in God played. The author weaves practical advice into anecdotes on his parents, his troubled adolescence, his post-military spiritual connection with Billy Graham, and how his affinity for distance running on an Olympic level honed enough mental discipline to endure and survive the sadistic torture of a Japanese POW camp and the PTSD that followed. The author also provides robust wilderness survival tips, which saved his life while adrift on a life raft in the Pacific Ocean and during his service as a U.S. Army Air Force bombardier. Certainly, his counsel is often platitudinous (exercise forgiveness, challenge yourself, be positive, and give back), but it’s also inspirational, and his words will offer a reflective refresher course for those receptive to it. Never boastful yet full of prideful personality, Zamperini’s tireless zest manifested in his later years with speaking engagements and collaboration with the Angelina Jolie–produced film adaptation of Lauren Hillenbrand’s best-selling book Unbroken (2010), based on his astonishing, fruitful life. Stuffed with bolstering, life-affirmative reinforcement, Zamperini’s legacy lives on through words and film, embodied best by a photograph of the nonagenarian skillfully riding a skateboard.

The inspirational odyssey of an American hero.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0062368331

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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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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