A riveting personal account and vivid exploration of Armenian history diminished by prejudice.



A writer returns to the Turkish city from which his Armenian family was expelled in this final volume of a memoir trilogy.

Madenjian’s (Ravished Paradise, 2016, etc.) father, Hovsep, liked to describe Chepni, a small city in Turkey, as an “earthly paradise,” a fond label for a place from which he was summarily expelled. The author was given an opportunity in 2007 to travel there in order to see for himself the “ancestral lands” Hosvep once called home before his property was stolen and he was compelled to start a new life in Lebanon. Madenjian wrote to the mayor, Huseyin Erdal—who insisted Chepni was the “world’s most modern place”—to procure a map and prepare arrangements for a visit. He was greeted by an odd mixture of warm hospitality, curiosity, and wary suspicion by the city’s inhabitants, some of whom seemed to believe he was there looking to recapture lost property or gather witnesses. But the author’s principal motivation was to see the “Forced March to Nothingness,” the road to the desert his parents were forced to walk into exile. Displaying an impressive mastery of the genocide perpetrated in 1915, Madenjian completes the history of the Armenians’ plight in Turkey he began in the first volume of this trilogy, sometimes referencing (and reproducing) his father’s memoirs from the ’20s. The author takes readers on a historically enlightening, if embittered, search for the reasons why the Armenians, particularly his own family, were so thoroughly betrayed by their neighbors. As in the first two installments, Madenjian’s unflinching quest can be poignantly powerful. His account of Armenian suffering is as affecting as it is edifying. But also following the model of its predecessors, the book inters readers under mounds of microscopic details, an informational burial that proves exhausting. Further, his implacable rage often clouds his judgment, the result of which is indefensibly broad attacks on whole groups of people: “I would be happy if not a single Kurd remained in the world. What did they bring to humanity until now other than misery and killings?”

A riveting personal account and vivid exploration of Armenian history diminished by prejudice.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 304

Publisher: Armenian History Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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 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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