A treasure trove of characterizations and insights bound to entertain any MLB fan.

THE BIG CHAIR

THE SMOOTH HOPS AND BAD BOUNCES FROM THE INSIDE WORLD OF THE ACCLAIMED LOS ANGELES DODGERS GENERAL MANAGER

The longtime Major League Baseball general manager covers the bases in a chatty memoir.

Alternating among declarations of his unabashed love for baseball, neutral reportage, and score-settling (usually with a smile and a subsequent peace offering), Colletti, whose career on the administration side covered decades with the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Dodgers, provides a variety of insights—among other subjects, about putting out fires as a GM accountable to a wealthy team owner, negotiating contracts with and making trades for players, getting a handle on illegal steroid use, and second-guessing field managers without seeming to interfere. The author, who began his career as a newspaper sportswriter, offers unforgettable, candid profiles of hundreds of players, including Greg Maddux, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, and Yasiel Puig. Regarding the last, the immature, reckless behavior of players barely old enough to drink legally is a reminder of how much fans expect of athletes whose brains might not be fully formed yet. Superagent Scott Boras, a legend in his own time for his negotiating tactics on behalf of players, shows up in the text frequently, as do superstar players and managers that Colletti has hired and fired, a list that includes Joe Torre and Don Mattingly. Because the author grew up in the Chicago area, worked for area newspapers, and began his career with the Cubs, the book is larded with Cubs’ anecdotes, including the breaking of the century-plus curse to win the World Series in 2016. During his decade with the Dodgers (2005-2015), Colletti’s teams never won the World Series, but they finished strong during most of those seasons. The author could have broadened his memoir to discuss his mingling with celebrities beyond baseball, but he refrains from doing so except for a section about Frank Sinatra.

A treasure trove of characterizations and insights bound to entertain any MLB fan.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1572-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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