Sometimes petty, often inspired: a gleeful death knell for the media industry as we know it.

AUTUMN OF THE MOGULS

MY MISADVENTURES WITH THE TITANS, POSEURS, AND MONEY GUYS WHO MASTERED AND MESSED UP BIG MEDIA

A media pundit delivers the unexciting news that big media is doomed—but does it with good humor.

The chattering classes—a swath of Manhattan real estate that starts in Midtown and branches uptown into the Upper East and Upper West Sides—is almost by definition a world of inveterate gossips, snitches, and I-told-you-sos. In this self-important but ultimately silly world, Wolff (Burn Rate, 1998) is the biggest and (and often silliest) gossip of them all. Fortunately, he’s an entertaining one. Wolff refreshingly makes no bones about being just as cruel and vindictive as the media in general, and he digs with great relish into the giants who have so thoroughly trashed the mediascape. He structures it all around a 2002 conference in which he was allowed to interview onstage (albeit via satellite) the titan of titans: Rupert Murdoch. But the conference—as well as an ongoing thread about the AOL Time Warner merger, which he calls “the worst deal ever made”—is really just a clothesline on which he can hang all his portraits of the moguls (or “mediaists,” as he calls them) he hasn’t yet been able to squeeze into his New York magazine column. Mostly it comes down to who’s really “stupid” and who’s not. Murdoch and Barry Diller earn a generous amount of respect, but based mostly on the amount of fear they instill in the author. Tina Brown and Martha Stewart get piled on, FCC chair Michael Powell is called “not just puffed up—at once both epicene and porcine,” and Jean-Marie Messier . . . well, it’s not pretty. Again, to be fair, Wolff slaps himself with the same hand that flips the finger at failing mediaists, describing himself as “a gnat feeding on the carcass of the media industry.”

Sometimes petty, often inspired: a gleeful death knell for the media industry as we know it.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-62113-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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