The death of Rutherford’s father frames the narrative, establishing a reflective tone that the memoir sustains.

THE LIVING YEARS

THE FIRST GENESIS MEMOIR

A genial, gentlemanly memoir about a band that has weathered plenty of upheaval without apparently suffering much strife.

Though it borrows its title from the biggest hit from Rutherford’s offshoot band, Mike and the Mechanics, the focus and justification for the book lies with its subtitle. Many readers would likely prefer a book by or about that band’s higher-profile frontmen—Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins—but founding guitarist Rutherford proves well-positioned to tell the tale, as one of only two members to remain throughout the band’s extended tenure. If you’re looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, this isn’t your book, and Genesis isn’t your band. Formed by schoolboy friends, later adding drummer Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett, Genesis had a unique musical evolution from seated musicians updating British folk to progressive conceptualists with a high-tech stage show. They were never a band of virtuosos, but they were more creatively ambitious than folky. They were also a band that valued the song rather than seeing it as a vehicle for instrumental showboating, and it was one in which most of them contributed to the material. During their popular ascent, it was thought at the time that they were dealt a devastating blow with the departure of Gabriel, yet Rutherford explains, “[t]here’s only so long you can carry on productively without shaking things up and now that he had gone we felt like a new band.” Collins took over vocals and then raised his own profile with a successful solo career (while remaining part of the band). “Our small cult audience had become a big cult audience,” writes the author, who doesn’t seem to have let any of it go to his head. Aside from the occasional marijuana mishap with the law, the author has seemingly lived a very stable life as a band mate and family man.

The death of Rutherford’s father frames the narrative, establishing a reflective tone that the memoir sustains.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-06068-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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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