A consistently sunny, family-oriented story of persistence and achievement.

A decorated Olympian reflects on her supportive upbringing and celebrated competitive swimming career.

Five-time gold medalist Franklin’s affinity for water began when she was a child vacationing with her family at oceanside locations and, later, in grade school, where she discovered and began honing the ability to “swim fast on my back.” With obvious pride, she describes a succession of swim meets, influential coaches, competitions, and national championships, near and far, which her parents, who co-authored the book, were more than happy to shuttle her to. At some point, writes the author, “a switch got flipped, and swimming became something else—something more.” With her parents’ blessings and ceaseless encouragement, Franklin began training with top-level professional coaches. In perhaps her greatest achievement to date, Franklin, then just 17, won five Olympic medals (four golds, one bronze) at the 2012 London Olympics. A blitz of media attention descended on the family, but Franklin became buoyed by an insistence on finishing her secondary education with her friends and graduating class at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado, where her spirituality bloomed as well. Throughout the book, Franklin effusively credits her parents as being “at the heart of everything I do, everything I am, everything I might become.” The co-authors add depth, personal history (both were victims of childhood abuse), and alternating perspectives on raising their daughter and cultivating her talent. They also offer a clear glimpse into how they raised and molded Missy to become a humble champion who continues to persevere—despite self-critically disappointing performances at the recent 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. But this is very much the swimmer’s memoir. In a breezy style, she focuses on charting her own physical prowess and competitive skills while honoring and staying true to the interconnectedness and gravity of the family bond.

A consistently sunny, family-oriented story of persistence and achievement.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-98492-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016


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


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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