A radiant and insightful collection of personal essays which meditate upon the importance of place in the development of character. Fullilove (a professor of psychiatry and public health at Columbia Univ.) is interested in exploring a psychology of place. Beginning from geographer Anssi Paasi’s notion of place as the personal assimilation of location and event, she wishes to understand the dynamics of the situations we find ourselves in at various stages of our lives. Each of her essays is an exploration of how close friends and members of her family have been affected by their physical surroundings—in both nurturing and disruptive manners. The essays range from her father’s realization of the importance of regrouping his base of political power in the black ghetto of Orange, N.J. (after his fall from the national labor union movement during the era of the McCarthy hearings), to the sense of desolation she experienced when the home of her close childhood friend was razed to make way for a new East-West Freeway. In another essay she tries to unravel how important a sense of belonging to a certain place was to her four children—three of whom experienced the psychic dislocation of being placed in foster homes before coming to live with her. The voice of her essays remains consistently gentle and understanding, even when she is describing her own personal pain at being made to leave her favorite school as a child to serve as a sacrifice in the school integration movement. In keeping with the spirit of the collection, she often draws upon examples from children’s literature to support her themes; she quotes liberally from such sources as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Boxcar Children, and Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King. The overall effect here can only be described as motherly. A literary antidote to the displacement and upheaval of modern life as we go crashing headlong into the new millennium.

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8032-2007-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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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 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 19, 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...


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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