A heartfelt, timely plea to remember past atrocities.


An unsparing indictment of Paris police during the Nazi occupation.

On July 16, 1942, 14-year-old Rajsfus was among thousands of Jews rounded up in Paris in compliance with German orders. Most were interned and deported, never to return, but he was fortunate enough to be released. In honor of his entire family, who were killed by Nazis, the author emotionally recalls that Black Thursday, which forms half of this book; he precedes it with Operation Yellow Star, based on newspaper reports and official papers, documenting the eagerness of French policemen “to take part in all repressive operations.” Loyal to the Vichy government, Rajsfus asserts, “the police got behind the racist ideology and imposed the laws that were those of a totalitarian state.” One of the major laws mandated that all Jews wear a yellow star, making them easily identifiable and subject to accusation, detention, and arrest. Sympathizers who took up the star themselves, as an expression of solidarity, were arrested, too. A few prominent cultural figures and wives of government loyalists were given exemptions, Rajsfus discovered, but when the writer Colette asked for an exemption for her Jewish husband, she was denied. The author’s memory of July 16 is harrowing: the family was awakened before 5 a.m. and told to pack in five minutes. Although arrests throughout Paris had been occurring for more than a year, still the family was surprised. Flanked by police, they were taken to a squalid house that served as a makeshift prison. Suddenly, an officer announced that all children 14 or older would be released if their parents agreed, and Rajsfus and his older sister found themselves alone on the street. They returned to their apartment, where, months later, they received a note from their father: “We are leaving for Germany.” Besides commemorating his family’s murder, Rajsfus raises awareness about how “the enemies of human rights are once more gaining ground,” spouting xenophobia that is easily transferable to any minority group.

A heartfelt, timely plea to remember past atrocities.

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9978184-0-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: DoppelHouse Press

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?