Delightful and informative reminiscences of one man’s life with his pet owl.

THE OWL WHO LIKED SITTING ON CAESAR

LIVING WITH A TAWNY OWL

The life of a man and his feathered friend.

Though owls are not common pets, Osprey Publishing military editor Windrow (Our Friends Beneath the Sands, 2012, etc.) developed a 15-year friendship with a tawny owl that lived in his apartment. Needing a companion after a sky diving accident, the author first tried a little owl; however, this bird escaped, so he tried a tawny owl. Right from the start, Mumble, as Windrow called his female tawny, proved to be the perfect friend. Using notes and photographs from their time together, the author intertwines anecdotes of living in a small apartment with a bird the size of a loaf of bread with the evolution, zoology and social life of owls, providing readers with lots of information not normally found outside of bird identification books. One favorite experience Windrow remembers fondly is how Mumble loved to snuggle into his neck after his shower. “Her head and neck smelt delicious—clean, warm, wooly, and sort of…biscuit,” he writes. “If I stopped nuzzling her for even a moment she squeaked insistently, shoving her face upwards. She loved it when I rubbed the close triangle of short feathers immediately above her beak and between her eyes.” Due to his desire for this friendship, Windrow was willing to cover the apartment with plastic and newspapers for the inevitable “strongly acidic, foul-smelling brown-and-white sludge” and provide whole baby chicks for Mumble’s food, which she tore at with great pleasure—such eccentricities made the author’s friends question his sensibilities. Rich in minutiae enveloped by a sense of fondness for this affectionate bird, Windrow’s tale is unusual and endearing and takes the idea of an animal/human friendship to new heights.

Delightful and informative reminiscences of one man’s life with his pet owl.

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-22846-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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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