Engaging, warm chronological memoir of Cary Grant, assembled from his own words and those of friends and fellow actors by Nelson, who represented Grant on the lecture circuit during his last years. This is a big, solid Grant biography that towers above recent books that show the actor ingloriously as a neurotic tightwad and bisexual. Nelson met Grant while arranging for his ``Evenings with Cary Grant''—Grant made 36 such unrehearsed appearances, speaking intimately to 1,000 to 3,000 listeners and answering questions for about two hours a show, to standing ovations. While Nelson pastes together her hundreds of quotations with quiet skill, she sometimes gets things wrong, as with Grant spending heavily to track down Plaza-owner Conrad Hilton to complain about getting only one half of an English muffin—a story that makes Hilton seem cheap. In fact, Grant got three halves and explained to Hilton that he was losing good will by not offering the fourth. Grant, born in Bristol, England, as Archie Leach, left school at 13 to go on the road as a dancer-tumbler-stilt-walker-pantomimist with the Pender troupe, skills that stayed with him for life and that brought him to America where he became a Coney Island stilt-walker, then a success in Broadway musicals. His first film was a bit in Singapore Sue, but it wasn't until 1937's The Awful Truth (directed by Frank Capra) that his gift for suave farce and physical comedy set him up as Hollywood's greatest farceur. By then he'd married and been divorced by Virginia Cherrill, Chaplin's blind girl in City Lights. Among the more moving episodes here is Grant's romance with young Phyllis Brooks, whose mother dampened any wedding bells. All speak of Grant's grace, taste, generosity, great wit and style, and the smashing quotes from his ``Evenings with...'' prove every word. Forget the other books, this is it. Superb. (Sixty-eight b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-10610-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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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 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...


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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