An invaluable complement to an immortal testimony.



Anne Frank, before and after the diary, with many new details and a fresh, welcome perspective.

In this updated edition of her superb 1998 biography, Müller (Alice's Piano: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, 2012) adds immeasurably to a well-known story, expanding on what the precocious young Anne Frank either didn’t say or didn’t know. Starting well before Anne’s birth, the author shows how her father, Otto Frank, established successful businesses selling fruit extracts and wholesale goods and, with his wife Edith, managed for a while to raise a family despite the growing Nazi threat. Otto could deal with the Wehrmacht by supplying goods to the Nazis (he hardly had any choice) and by trying to “Aryanize” his businesses. Of course, it couldn’t last, as the family would be forced to flee first to Amsterdam and then into the secret annex over one of Otto's businesses. They weren’t alone; some 20,000 to 30,000 Jews in Holland “saw going into hiding as their only alternative to deportation." Müller illuminates the shadows of Anne’s diary, particularly in casting the Franks’ loveless arranged marriage, which Anne accurately saw through, in a sympathetic and understanding light. She adds dimension to Anne’s picture of Edith, as well; the woman her daughter depicted as stern and cold was also trying desperately not to give in to despair. Müller likewise tells the full story behind Anne’s roommate, Fritz Pfeffer. The stiff-necked, middle-aged doctor whom Anne referred to as “Dussel” (Dutch for “dope”) also had no family support and feared for the safety of his fiancee and a son by a former marriage. Müller assesses Anne’s shifting moods, growing sexual awareness and her dual nature: the impish extrovert and the deeply private young writer. She also assiduously researches the details of Anne’s final days, as well as the fates of everyone else.

An invaluable complement to an immortal testimony.

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8731-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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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 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...


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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