Die-hard Bond fans will delight in this compendium.



An oral history of six decades’ worth of entries in the James Bond film franchise.

For some fans, James Bond is Sean Connery, who turns up here at the last moment to mutter, “Of course the films will go on, but who’ll play me, I just don’t know and can’t guess.” Others are perfectly happy with the work of Daniel Craig, who lacks Connery’s twinkle but has nicely captured the character’s essential amorality: He’s perfectly capable of mayhem and extreme violence without pausing for a breath (and doesn’t really need to, the Bond of today having lightened up on the cigarettes and booze of his 1960s iteration). Besides, he looks good in a tux. Altman, the co-author, with Gross, of like-minded oral histories of Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Battlestar Galactica, talks to figures before and behind the camera to chronicle the changing face of Bond and the Bond films—including the “Bond girls,” some lethal and some merely eye candy. The compilers don’t always hit the mark: It does little perceptible good to know that Robert Rodriguez was introduced to Bond through The Spy Who Loved Me or to repeat the well-worn truism that Ian Fleming named his spy after the author of a book about Caribbean birds. But there’s plenty of meat on the bones, too, such as the authors’ exploration of the pioneering work of Bond’s early producers in product placements, with Dr. No sporting more than 20 of them as “a result of James Bond and Sean Connery being fairly unknown entities” at the time. Pierce Brosnan, George Lazenby, and Timothy Dalton weren’t much better known. However, along with Roger Moore and Craig, all, note the authors in a rare criticism, have done their part to play Bond as Fleming wrote him, “a sexist, misogynist dinosaur who is always ready to do what’s right for England and the world.”

Die-hard Bond fans will delight in this compendium.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30095-9

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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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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