Will be devoured by Yankees loyalists and happily sampled by all baseball fans.

THE CLOSER

Baseball’s greatest relief pitcher reflects on his just-concluded surefire Hall of Fame career.

When a modern-day ballplayer insists he doesn’t play for money, that personal statistics don’t matter, or that he’s never cheated, heads will shake and eyes will likely roll. It’s a measure of the esteem in which he’s held that Rivera tends to be believed. Over his 19-year career with the Yankees, Rivera became the all-time saves leader and won five World Series. Along the way, he conducted himself with such humility that he earned the love of his teammates, the deep respect of opponents and the admiration of fans. This memoir demonstrates why. With the help of Coffey (co-author, with R.A. Dickey: Wherever I Wind Up, 2012, etc.), Rivera recounts his childhood in Panama, his progress as “a bottom-of-the-barrel” prospect to and through the major leagues, and his inviolable game-day routine. He touches on his many, thrilling career highlights, but he spends as much time on those occasions where, as the most reliable closer in the game, he failed. It’s no surprise to read his admiring, affectionate assessments of teammates—Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams and especially Derek Jeter—and of his respect for opponents like Edgar Martinez and Dustin Pedroia, but Rivera makes a place for less-glittering names as well: his mentor Chico Heron, his saintly wife, Clara, Yankee trainer Gene Monahan and minor league teammate Tim Cooper. Rivera mildly criticizes his high school math teacher, an anonymous Westchester County homeowner, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano but otherwise saves any harsh remarks for himself, “an imperfect man on an imperfect journey.” The author’s preternatural calm clearly stems from a deep religious faith some nonbelievers will find disquieting, explaining his devastating cut fastball as a gift from God, his belief in miracles and his conviction that the Holy Spirit once spoke to him on the mound.

Will be devoured by Yankees loyalists and happily sampled by all baseball fans.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-40073-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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