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As entertaining and shocking as one would hope for, but the book leaves readers with more questions than answers.

In the first comprehensive examination of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s life and career, Independent Italy correspondent Day paints a lively but noncomplex picture of an ambitious and deeply flawed man in a system that accommodated his numerous vices.

Berlusconi’s rise is a fascinating story that reads straight from a tabloid, littered with corrupt politicians, shady dealings, and women who emerge more as caricatures than real people. The author ably brings to light the various avenues by which Berlusconi first made his fortune and later made Italy his playground through self-serving legislation. With such rich fodder and his experience for nearly a decade as a journalist in Italy, it’s not surprising he is able to do so. However, Day vacillates between treating Berlusconi’s antics as a political sideshow and exposing them as a true threat to Italy’s political system. When the author does turn to his subject’s legacy, highlighting the extensive damage he did to the country’s culture and reputation, it reads more like an afterthought than a legitimate meditation. Day gives great attention to the sex scandals that made Berlusconi an international joke, but he focuses less on exploring the system within which Berlusconi existed. Leaps between his roles as an entrepreneur and a politician and between investigations and public scandals feel jarring, as the author gives too little context. In other instances, however, Day provides too much detail—e.g., the minibiography of one of the young girls whose relationship with Berlusconi eventually brought about the political titan’s downfall. Although the author explains the many whats of Berlusconi’s long career, he largely neglects the more intricate questions of how. In so doing, he makes Italy seem more like a bit player than the stage in Berlusconi’s circus.

As entertaining and shocking as one would hope for, but the book leaves readers with more questions than answers.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-137-28004-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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