Dripping with snideness, vibrating with rage, and gleaming with clarity—a deeply satisfying read.

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TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH

HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS MAN

The long-awaited tell-all from the president’s niece, a clinical psychologist.

Donald Trump, writes the author early on in this scathing critique, “understands nothing about history, constitutional principles, geopolitics, diplomacy (or anything else, really).” Her account of a night spent at the Trump International Hotel begins with her discomfort at finding her name plastered on every object in the room: “TRUMP shampoo…TRUMP shoe polish, TRUMP sewing kit, and TRUMP bathrobe….I opened the refrigerator, grabbed a split of TRUMP white wine, and poured it down my Trump throat so it could course through my Trump bloodstream and hit the pleasure center of my Trump brain.” As readers will quickly realize, there is a fate worse than having Donald J. Trump as president: being related to him. The author describes wandering around her house in shock the morning after the 2016 election. “It felt,” she writes, “as though 62,979,636 voters had chosen to turn this country into a macro version of my malignantly dysfunctional family.” Few fairy tales were ever colder and greedier than the story of Donald’s father, Fred Trump; the author, who specializes in psychopathology, prefers the technical term, “high-functioning sociopath.” Donald and his siblings were “essentially motherless” from a very early age, and they were subjected to an ongoing form of abuse summarized by the book’s title. But once Donald was tapped as his father’s favorite, he was ushered into the proverbial counting house while his siblings were left to fight for the scraps. The author’s father was repeatedly humiliated and all but disowned, and he was left to die alone. The author’s aunt "wouldn't have been able to feed herself or her son" without Crisco cans of dimes and quarters collected from the laundry machines in the Trump apartments, sneaked to her by her mother. And it goes on, coming to a head in the unbelievable story of Fred Trump’s will. Does Mary Trump, Ph.D., have an ax to grind? Sure. So do we all.

Dripping with snideness, vibrating with rage, and gleaming with clarity—a deeply satisfying read.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982141-46-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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