Fotheringham draws Hinault to fierce perfection: a workingman born to the bicycle seat, massively successful because he had...

THE BADGER

THE LIFE OF BERNARD HINAULT AND THE LEGACY OF FRENCH CYCLING

Guardian cycling correspondent Fotheringham (Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling's Greatest Champion, 2013, etc.) recalls the days when bicyclists were bold and doping was second nature. "Leave me in peace; everybody takes dope," said French hero Jacques Anquetil—except the subject of this book, Bernard Hinault (b. 1954), who won five Tour de France titles.

Hinault's brilliant career—he was arguably the best competitive cyclist ever—fell between two tumultuous moments in cycling history. Nevertheless, he was a one-man extreme-weather event unto himself. He began competing in the early 1970s, following the retirement of Anquetil and the semiretirement of Eddy Merckx, and he continued until the rise of Greg LeMond and a whole new technological age. As Fotheringham writes in this fleet, personality-drenched book, Hinault was a throwback to Breton cycling at its most elemental and ferocious. The author is also fascinating on the rise of cycling as a sport in the period after World War II. It was insular and a bit clandestine—much like the French Resistance—complete with heroes and weekly events that tested the mettle of all participants. Hinault was built of such stuff. He was notoriously prickly—he once said “he wished he had a jacket with tacks on it, to ward off back slappers who would hassle him after stages”—and he was brash, busting up the time-honored events simply by winning them, and screw the veterans’ scripts. He was brutish, he possessed extreme endurance, and he loved a challenge. In short, he was the Badger: strong, tenacious, and always spoiling for a fight. “I’m not a nice animal,” he reflected in retirement.

Fotheringham draws Hinault to fierce perfection: a workingman born to the bicycle seat, massively successful because he had the grit and no need for better living through chemistry.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61373-418-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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