An unflinching memoir that offers vital American history.

JUST A GIRL

GROWING UP FEMALE AND AMBITIOUS

Debut author Jackson recounts incidents of sexual harassment, revealing the generational wounds that the #MeToo movement seeks to heal.

“There are all sorts of books about accomplished corporate women who are confident, powerful, one of the boys, and for whom everything goes well,” the author writes at the beginning of this memoir. “But that was not my life.” Jackson presents painful memories of corporate America between the 1970s and 2010s. Her story begins with a traditional ’50s childhood, during which, she says, her submissive mother kept house for her engineering-professor father. “I didn’t want my mother’s life of fear, abuse, subservience, and catering to him,” she remembers. “I wanted his life—my own money, a job where I was important, away from the house.” Jackson had a desire to study biology in college—a prospect that no adults in her life encouraged, despite her 4.0 GPA—and to enter a science-related field.  However, she says that as she started her career, men worked together to sabotage her—picking on her for made-up infractions, demanding sexual favors, or blaming her for their mistakes. When a higher-up decreed that he wouldn’t promote workers who didn’t have doctorates, she went back to school, only to encounter more harassment from professors, she says. Jackson goes on to share how she fought against various injustices, including age and sex discrimination. In separate sections in each chapter, she analyzes specific social and political advancements in the United States and relates them to her own life; this can feel a bit tedious as a narrative device, but it’s also useful in tracing the overall rise of feminist consciousness. References to Anita Hill’s 1991 U.S. Senate testimony and the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh emphasize the relevance of the author’s story today: “Twenty-seven years later, we were in a time warp,” she laments while reflecting on the Kavanaugh hearings. Jackson’s commiseration with younger generations of women is particularly touching when she tells of how two of her own sons were accused of sexual harassment.

An unflinching memoir that offers vital American history.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-662-6

Page Count: 260

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

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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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