TO THE SUMMIT

A WOMAN'S JOURNEY INTO THE MOUNTAINS TO FIND HER SOUL

The compelling, if at times aggravating, tale of Chisholm's journey from the land of the dead to the thin air of high peaks, told with the help of Bruce, an editor for Self-Help Psychology magazine. In her mid-30s, Chisholm was a wreck: hooked on booze and dope, unable to control her eating, tempering her moods with Nyquil and Sinutabs, fancying she was controlling her weight with a massive daily intake of laxatives, unable to go to work or even get out of bed. Thanks to fate, destiny—call it what you will—she found her way to a rehab group that got the recuperative ball rolling, and coincidentally, in the mid-1980s, Chisholm discovered mountain climbing. She wanted to climb the seven summits, the highest mountains on each continent, and her quest became a bit of an obsession: She wondered if she simply switched one addiction for another. But her motives feel purer than that. She was trying to claw her way out of a deadly slough, and she realized she had to be physically and spiritually up to the challenge. Spiritually, Chisholm discovered God, and readers may feel they have been foisted into a confessional role. Her mantra is ``God's love, God's strength, God's will, I can.'' Inner voices dog her: The pessimist Martha and the perfectionist Ghost in White taunt her unmercifully. Physically, the adventurer's quests were daunting: Kilimanjaro, Denali, Cerro Aconcagua, Everest, mountains that demand resources no non-mountaineer could imagine. Chisholm's excitement at being on the roofs of the world, or at least sitting under the eaves at base camp—highly descriptive, with nuggets of climbing wisdom—is palpable. When Everest eludes Chisholm, and she takes it in stride, readers may sense that she has covered her most impressive terrain. (photos, not seen) (First printing of 60,000; author tour)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-380-97359-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1997

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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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