A striking remembrance by an intellectual whose radical, fierce nature is unflappable.

I NEVER LEFT HOME

POET, FEMINIST, REVOLUTIONARY

A revolutionary woman and remarkable writer places her long journey within the context of her conflicted past and our own divided present.

Naming one book by Randall (Exporting Revolution: Cuba’s Global Solidarity, 2017, etc.)—or even 10 (she has published more than 150)—doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of her oeuvre, let alone summarize her impressive arc as a person. The author has always been busy and prolific, whether as a well-known poet, an active participant in Latin America’s revolutionary culture, a mother, or simply a woman who has experienced multiple awakenings during her 83 years on Earth. This memoir, more generalized than her writings about Cuba or her later years in Albuquerque, not only covers her life, work, and personal evolution, but also provides a sampling of her poetry, photographs, and reflections on the suffering endured by immigrants around the world and the bravery of those honored few who stand up to tyranny. “I want to do more than showcase a singular journey,” Randall writes. “None of us are separate.” The author’s compassion for her fellow humans is always on display, but this is a cinematic story infused with Randall’s intellectual spirit. Born in New York City, Randall found her way around the world, interacting with other writers and artists, raising children, and fighting the good fight in Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Though the narrative contains numerous luminaries—Alan Ginsberg, Alice Walker, Arthur Miller, among others—Randall is uninterested in name-dropping. Where the book gets most interesting—and relevant to today—is when the author describes how she was deported in 1984 because “the government claimed that my writing went ‘beyond the good order and happiness of the United States.’ ” She didn’t win her case until 1989, with the assistance of numerous writers, including Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Kurt Vonnegut, Gray Paley, Carlos Fuentes, and Norman Mailer. “The use of immigration law as a political weapon continues,” writes the author. “Only its victims have changed.”

A striking remembrance by an intellectual whose radical, fierce nature is unflappable.

Pub Date: March 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4780-0618-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Duke Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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 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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