Parallel Lines

Rizk, in his debut, warns of the coming destruction of the country unless its hapless citizens rise up and repent.
Debut author Rizk, who once taught calculus to Chinese exchange students in Englewood, New Jersey, reveals little else about himself in this diatribe against greed, immortality and pervasive government corruption. His historical narrative comes no closer to the present day than the pernicious behavior of the two Bush administrations; the last decade goes largely unmentioned. But the book’s theme, which draws heavily on biblical prophecy in the Book of Revelation, is clear: Unless societies and their leaders execute justice, then doom is inevitable. The timing of the destruction, Rizk says, will depend on when less than a handful of godly people can be found in a city or a state, and when God finally runs out of patience. However, there will be warnings first, the author says, such as when terrorists made an abortive earlier attempt in 1993 to take down the World Trade Center before it finally fell in 2001. Although the book tries to be enigmatic, it broadly hints that the Babylon prophesized to fall in the Book of Revelation precisely fits the profile of modern-day New York, right down to the seven letters in each name. The author’s fervent hope, he says, is to get his message out that repentance is the only real homeland security before powerful forces intercede to shut him up. This brief book has the quality of a New York City cab ride, during which the driver holds forth while the passenger listens with varying levels of interest and credulity. Some moments have a distant ring of truth, as when Rizk suggests that debates about abortion never mention that “unmarried women like to have sex.” However, the book then moves into moral zealotry, as it goes on to say that “their gods are their bellies and fornications are their glory.” The author also notes that Harvard and Yale “sell their degrees to anyone who can pay”; many people who have applied with money in hand, however, would not agree.
A fulfillment of the author’s desire to publicly speak the truth as he sees it.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493124114

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2014

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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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Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.


A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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