A literary Hedda Hopper dishes dirt on the director and evokes pity rather than disgust. Veteran biographer Meade (Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase, 1995, etc.) gets down to business in her first chapter, which recounts Mia Farrow’s discovery of his erotic photos of her teenage daughter Soon-Yi. That unbeatable opening segues into a chronicle of Allen’s life on-screen and with women, backed by a broad range of interviews with ex-wives, film associates, and paparazzi. Film tidbits abound as Meade details how Allen pushed Warren Beatty out of What’s New Pussycat?, balked at changing the title Anhedonia to Annie Hall, and panted for the approbation of film critics, particularly Vincent Canby. Critical analysis, thankfully, is limited to reviewers— reactions and box-office business. Along the way to success come the women, from first wife Harleen, whose relentless exploitation in Allen’s work gained her a lifetime settlement, to the teenager whose —mature— affair with Allen inspired Manhattan. There’s nothing new about Diane Keaton, except that Allen reserved a drawer for her in the bedroom set he and wife Louise Lasser shared. But when Meade catches up with Mia, the author bares all: the romance, the arguments in front of the tots, and the chilling $7 million legal marathon that left Allen unable to see all his children and shadowed by child-molestation charges. After this spectacle, talk of how little Soon-Yi knew of Allen’s films and how she dragged him to fashion shows comes as a relief, as does the climactic appearance of the couple’s child, Bechet Dumaine. As Roger Ebert says of the Mia—Woody—Soon-Yi situation, —Life goes on.— Fueled by tart anecdote, graphic scene-making, and glib analysis, Meade’s tell-all charges like a 20-mule—team People article. But it delivers on the biographical form’s promise of illuminating portraiture, explaining why, after decades of boyishness, Allen now appears —older than his age.— (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2000

ISBN: 0-684-83374-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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