THE TIMES OF MY LIFE

AND MY LIFE WITH THE TIMES

An honest, bracing memoir from one of the nation’s most distinguished journalists. This is a tale of escape, assimilation, and success. Frankel, retired executive editor of the New York Times, fled as a child with his mother from Germany on one of the last visas issued by the US Embassy in Berlin after the outbreak of war. The visa was obtained because of the efforts of his mother, a kind of human Roadrunner adept at narrow escapes, who faced down the Nazis in feats of courage and wicked wit. His father went east through Siberian camps; surviving, he finally escaped Soviet anti-Semitism and bribed his way to New York. The son, scarcely daunted, took up newspaper work at Columbia University and never looked back. This critical, self-critical, and wise story of Frankel’s life will also be catnip to those who wish to learn more of the internal history of the Times. In sharp portraits of those with whom he worked (James “Scotty” Reston and Arthur “Punch” Sulzberger among them), Frankel reveals much of the newspaper’s role in events at which he had a ringside seat: Khrushchev’s Soviet Union, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Pentagon Papers and its resulting path-breaking First Amendment defense, and Watergate. While not everyone will sympathize fully with Frankel’s justifications for all the changes that have overtaken newsroom culture, his own paper, or American journalism—changes for which he was in part responsible—few will tire of his stories and reflections about them. And everyone will gain from his clear explanations of journalistic codes of reportage and behavior. While much of his chronicle concerns his professional life, one also gets a clear sense of Frankel the son, husband, and father—and of the principles, intelligence, and personality that eased his way along. Informative, thoughtful, delightful. (32 pages photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-679-44824-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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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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