A candid assessment that strips away the colorful legends about “Chesty” Puller and replaces them with a more valuable...

READ REVIEW

CHESTY

THE STORY OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL LEWIS B. PULLER, USMC

A powerful and often controversial military biography of the US Marine Corps’ legendary Lieutenant General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller.

Military historian (and Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant colonel) Hoffman (Once a Legend, not reviewed) unravels the complex personality of the officer held up by Marine Corps culture as the quintessence of aggressive combat leadership. The author traces Puller’s fighting instinct to a desire to live up to standards of military service that were rooted in his family’s Civil War heritage. This heritage, he argues, led Puller to enlist in the Marine Corps immediately after graduating from the Virginia Military Institute, in order to test his own courage and win glory on the WWI battlefields. Hoffman shows how, when WWI ended before he had completed his training, Puller doggedly pursuing his dream of becoming a Marine Corps officer by volunteering for service in Nicaragua, where he earned an early reputation as a tactically competent and ferocious fighter. He then follows Puller’s celebrated career into WWII and Korea, chronicling his personal bravery and inspiring leadership in the brutal Pacific fighting on Guadalcanal, Cape Glaster, and Peleliu, as well as his key role in making MacArthur’s audacious Inchon landing a success. Despite his successes, Puller has been accused by some of unimaginative tactics and reckless expenditures of young marines’ lives. Although Puller often fell short as a formal operational planner, Hoffman effectively argues that he compensated for this by always sharing the risks and conditions of combat with his enlisted men—and thus inspiring his marines to complete their missions no matter what the sacrifice.

A candid assessment that strips away the colorful legends about “Chesty” Puller and replaces them with a more valuable legacy—the importance of caring for military subordinates and leading from the front in the face of overwhelming odds. (16 pages b&w photos, maps)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2001

ISBN: 0-679-44732-6

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more