A powerful, welcome manifesto in the cause of a new and better South—and a “better America.”

IN THE SHADOW OF STATUES

A WHITE SOUTHERNER CONFRONTS HISTORY

“Has the white South truly reckoned with the Civil War?” The mayor of New Orleans, scion of an old progressive family, writes of the controversy surrounding his city’s removal of monuments to the Confederacy.

Landrieu acquired national renown during the fraught post-Charlottesville spring of 2017 when he delivered a reasoned if quietly defiant speech about the reasons that New Orleans decided to remove four Confederate monuments, a decision that “wasn’t sitting well with some of the powerful business interests in the state.” In fact, some of the contractors who bid to do the removal work came under the threat of death, even as inflamed neo-Confederates and their allies protested what Landrieu defended as the prerogative of a democratically elected city government. That opposition, the author unhesitatingly declares, represents institutionalized racism: “You may have the law on your side, but if someone else controls the money, the machines or the hardware you need to make your new law work, you are screwed.” African-Americans, he adds, know all about this perversion of justice, but it’s an eye-opener for others who have not experienced that update of the peculiar institution. The statues—of Robert E. Lee, Pierre Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, and the “Reconstruction-era organization of racial militants” called the White League—may disappear, but the attitudes of those defending them will take longer to erase, particularly given the intransigent leadership of people like David Duke. Landrieu charts his family’s long history of racial fairness; his father, as he recalls, “voted against twenty-nine Jim Crow laws at the [Louisiana] legislature in 1960,” falling afoul of the segregationist leadership. The author concludes by noting that while the tide seems to be turning, the conflict endures, with “domestic terrorism” afoot as “part of the ho-hum racism that eats through our country every day.”

A powerful, welcome manifesto in the cause of a new and better South—and a “better America.”

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-55944-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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