A passionate, lucid, and necessary memoir, then and now.

MEMOIR OF A RACE TRAITOR

FIGHTING RACISM IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH

A reprint of the author’s account of her work as a white lesbian “thinking race, feeling race, acting against racism” in the American South.

First published in 1994, this memoir tells the highly topical story of how Segrest (Emeritus, Gender and Women’s Studies/Connecticut Coll.; Born to Belonging: Writings on Spirit and Justice, 2002, etc.) developed intersectional feminist consciousness and struggled against far-right extremism in North Carolina. As a member of a conservative Alabama family, the author began questioning white privilege when she witnessed the intense struggles black students faced during forced integration in the early 1960s. A decade later, she came face to face with her own minority status when she realized she was gay. During the 1970s, Segrest gravitated to feminism but quickly saw that its ideologies were as classist as they were racist and heterosexist. The author then evolved a socialist consciousness that regarded misogyny, homophobia, and racism as byproducts of capitalism, and she eventually realized that liberation movements “separate people as much as bring them together.” This understanding became the cornerstone of her work at the intersection of race, class, and gender. Her “race traitor” activism during the 1980s and ’90s led her to forge fraught but necessary alliances with black activists in North Carolina while speaking out against the Ku Klux Klan for its acts of white supremacist violence. Segrest also worked for justice in hate crimes against members of the gay community, but the extreme homophobia she encountered in the more conservative parts of North Carolina sometimes meant having to keep her sexual orientation hidden. She presciently concludes that unless Americans understand and take action against the legacy of “racism…homophobia…hatred of Jews and women [and] greed,” it will “sicken us all.” Twenty-five years later, in the shadow of increasing worldwide white nationalism and hyperpredatory capitalism, Segrest’s reflections are exceptionally chilling, fresh, and urgent.

A passionate, lucid, and necessary memoir, then and now.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62097-299-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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