Offers insight into the 20th-century–African-American experience and a lesson in optimism.

Businessman First

REMEMBERING HENRY G. PARKS, JR. 1916-1989 CAPTURING THE LIFE OF A BUSINESSMAN WHO

A tribute to Henry G. Parks Jr., the man who created and built Parks Sausages (“More Park Sausages, Mom”) into a national brand, written by the man he befriended and mentored for 10 years.

Henry Parks, born in 1916, was raised in “the segregated North” in Dayton, Ohio. The prevalent bigotry and de facto separation of the races that marked most of his life form a running backdrop to the story of a man determined to succeed in business. Dorsey’s debut volume is the completion of a project begun by Parks himself and is the fulfillment of a promise Dorsey made when Parks selected him to write his biography. The author has waded through voluminous notes, newspaper articles, awards and reminiscences to present a portrait of a talented, innovative entrepreneur. In this aptly titled retrospective, the lion’s share of the narrative chronicles Parks’ wide-ranging business ventures and participation on the boards of many of America’s large corporations. It’s not until the final chapters that readers are given a glimpse into Parks’ personal life. Here, one can find hints of the complexities of a man who operated by a personal moral code yet formed a lifelong and profitable business partnership with a notorious Baltimore numbers runner; a man who assumed without question financial support for his family but spent little time with them and, in the end, would say that he loved his children but didn’t really know them; and a man who declared, “I am not a Negro businessman. I am a businessman who is Negro” but who was committed to raising the hopes and aspirations of young blacks. One can almost hear Parks instructing his young protégé to write a business biography. Unfortunately, the result contains many dry passages and occasionally tedious listings of accomplishments. Timelines jump back and forth as Dorsey attempts to organize the volume into conceptual rather than sequential chapters. Absolutely clear, however, is that the author has great love for a man who treated him as a son.

Offers insight into the 20th-century–African-American experience and a lesson in optimism.

Pub Date: March 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493114795

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2014

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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