Essential reading for comics fans and history buffs, Krazy is a roaring success, providing an indispensable new perspective...

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KRAZY

GEORGE HERRIMAN, A LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITE

A revelatory biography of the influential “Krazy Kat” creator George Herriman (1880-1944).

Set among the desert mesas of Coconino County, “Krazy Kat” graced the funny pages from 1913 to 1944 and featured the philosophical antics of Krazy and the brick-throwing mouse, Ignatz. Tisserand (Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School to Remember, 2007, etc.) reveals the depths of their age-old rivalry, tracing influences from Cervantes and Othello to minstrel shows and the Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries bout of 1910. “Krazy Kat” always had a racial angle: Herriman was born a fair-skinned boy to African-American parents and grew up in the Creole community of New Orleans. His complexion allowed him to “pass” as white, a controversial practice that Herriman carried secretly throughout his life. Though he penned numerous strips—e.g., "Us Husbands," "Baron Mooch," and "The Family Upstairs"—it wasn’t until the publication of “Krazy Kat”in 1913 that he moved toward the life of a celebrated artist, garnering praise from the likes of e.e. cummings and President Woodrow Wilson. Herriman’s unique racial perspective allowed him to sneak some remarkably potent themes into his cartoons, many of which were likely lost on his readers at the time: Krazy, for instance, is revealed to have been born in the cellar of a haunted house, in a “tale which must never be told, and yet which everyone knows.” In another gag, Ignatz flings a mug at Krazy saying it’s not the black coffee he wanted. “Sure it is,” Krazy tells him. “Look unda the milk.” Tisserand elevates this exhaustively researched and profusely illustrated book beyond the typical comics biography. Seamlessly integrating the story of Herriman’s life, he executes an impressive history of early-20th-century race relations, the rise of Hearst and the newspaper boom, and the burgeoning cross-continental society life of New York and Los Angeles.

Essential reading for comics fans and history buffs, Krazy is a roaring success, providing an indispensable new perspective on turn-of-the-century America.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-173299-7

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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