A pleasant read that espouses the merits of dedication and gives thoughtful advice to burgeoning editors.

SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM

Former video editor Zappia’s debut memoir gives readers a look behind the scenes of some of America’s iconic TV shows.

Born to Italian immigrants, Zappia worked his way up from TV repairman to CBS engineer to one of the most sought-after television editors of his time. During his career, Zappia worked on such classic TV programs as Hee Haw, All in the Family, MacGyver and Who’s the Boss?, among others. Along the way, he picked up two Emmys and doubled his salary with each new job, but he never lost his humility or his desire to learn and refine his craft. For example, after he won his first Emmy Award for Hee Haw, he moved down to an assistant editor position when the show was canceled: “Always be willing to learn by going back and doing beginner jobs. You might learn something new or remind yourself of something you may have forgotten.” On the subject of learning new systems, he writes, “Once again I’ll remind you that it is very important that you learn the tools of your craftyou can edit with confidence and concentrate on the creative side of editing.” Along the way, he also presents a brief history of the evolution of video editing, from film reels to digital devices. Zappia’s asides and simple writing style may be off-putting at first, but they quickly become endearing and occasionally inspiring. However, he includes relatively few stories about his family, which makes their rare appearances feel disjointed; at one point, for example, he mentions that his son became a TV writer, without ever previously mentioning that his son had an interest in writing. However, he also includes original letters and photographs from his editing life that add a personal touch.

A pleasant read that espouses the merits of dedication and gives thoughtful advice to burgeoning editors.

Pub Date: July 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482604009

Page Count: 184

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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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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