SUMMER AT TIFFANY

Manhattan during the summer of 1945, as the author remembers it.

The country was at war, food was rationed and money was tight, but University of Iowa coeds Marjorie Jacobson (now Hart) and Marty Garrett somehow scraped together $40 each to buy roundtrip train tickets so they could spend a summer in New York. On arrival, the Midwestern beauties sublet an apartment in Morningside Heights and landed jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co. Never before had the venerable store hired young women to run errands from the sales floors to the mysterious upper reaches of the fabled Fifth Avenue emporium, but during wartime, everyone had to sacrifice. The discreet tap of a salesman’s diamond ring (they all sported one) against a glass display case would set Marjorie and Marty, wearing silk dresses that matched Tiffany’s trademark blue, skittering in high heels across polished floors. Between assignments, they watched for celebrity shoppers. Who could be next? Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli? Marlene Dietrich? The Duke of Windsor? In the evenings and on weekends, the wide-eyed yet commonsensical duo embraced all that 1945 New York had to offer: the Stork Club, The Glass Menagerie and Carousel on Broadway, ice cream sundaes at Schrafft’s. Midshipmen escorted them to Jack Dempsey’s and to Greenwich Village eateries. Kindly neighbors invited them over for lemonade and musical evenings at which Marjorie played the cello. Along the way, they developed crushes on men in uniform and endured such mild work traumas as a string of pearls coming undone in an elevator, but the undoubted highlight of their summer was joining two million other revelers in Times Square on August 14 when Truman announced victory in Japan. The 82-year-old author’s memories have been polished smooth over the course of six decades, and her warm account of more innocent times makes an unspoken comparison with the way we live now.

A fond backward glance.

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-118952-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2007

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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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