ABBIE HOFFMAN

AMERICAN REBEL

A thoughtful, solidly researched biography of the wildly creative and iconoclastic yippie, portraying Hoffman as a fresh force in American political culture—and as a man ultimately sabotaged by bipolar disorder (manic-depression), which drove him to extremes and probably led to his suicide. In 1988, Jezer (the children's book Rachel Carson, 1978) ran into Hoffman in an airport. A veteran activist and countercultural journalist who'd known the famed radical from the early hippie days on the Lower East Side until the violent days on the streets of Chicago in 1968, Jezer embraced Hoffman and listened with growing unease as the time-battered yippie ranted on and on about how great everything was going. Hoffman would be dead the next year. From this almost Dostoyevskian image of a radical out of balance, consumed by his own raging misplaced energy (in this case, the hypomanic phase of bipolar disorder), Jezer traces Hoffman's early influences. From the time he was a middle-class Jewish teenager in Worcester, Mass., Hoffman loved to play the rebel street-fighting man. It was the famous humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, his professor at Brandeis, however, who inspired Hoffman to conceive of political protest as a positive expression, a means of self- actualization. In the ``Yippie!'' movement, founded with Jerry Rubin, Hoffman sought to fuse the creativity and individualism of the counterculture with the righteous spirit of the antiwar movement. Here, Hoffman appears as his own best creation—half Lenny Bruce, half political shaman, throwing cash off the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange, trying to levitate the Pentagon, proclaiming himself a member of the ``Woodstock Nation,'' not a place but a beautiful, free state of mind. Hoffman—and a whole doomed, inspired era—emerges vividly in this cleareyed, richly detailed work. (Photographs—24 pages b&w- -not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-8135-1850-4

Page Count: 325

Publisher: Rutgers Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1992

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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