Engaging for both the curious and the ardent fan.

READ REVIEW

WILL EISNER

A DREAMER'S LIFE IN COMICS

This biography of visionary pioneer Will Eisner (1917–2005) also includes a compact history of the progression from comic books to graphic novels.

Though Eisner’s 1940s hero, The Spirit, never achieved as much subsequent mainstream cultural currency as Superman or Batman, no comics artist has been more influential or prophetic. Even before the great comics scare of the ’50s, during which the medium was widely condemned as a corrupting influence on the nation’s youth, Eisner proclaimed his intentions: “Comics—sequential art—is my medium. I regard it as much my singular medium as a writer who writes only words or the motion-picture man who writes only in movies…it has perimeters and it has parameters; it has grammar; it has distinct rules; it has limitations; and it has possibilities which have not really been touched.” Eisner lived to not only see his manifesto fulfilled by a new generation of “underground” artists, but he was inspired by their popularity to create the most conceptually ambitious work of his career, following a hiatus of a couple of decades. Schumacher (Wreck of the Carl D.: A True Story of Loss, Survival, and Rescue at Sea, 2008, etc.) draws heavily from other sources for a competent detailing of his emergence into the profession, yet the book really comes alive when it advances to his artistic resurrection, through interviews with many of those inspired by Eisner and critical commentary that demonstrates Schumacher’s intense passion for, and deep knowledge of, his subject. “His work was his therapy,” writes the author of the death of Eisner’s teenage daughter, “and later, when the time was right, he would creatively combine his work and grief into a sequential art form that would help change the direction of comics.”

Engaging for both the curious and the ardent fan.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-60819-013-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more