Far less scandalous than “rock drummer writes book” might suggest but far more interesting, too.

FAR AND NEAR

ON DAYS LIKE THESE

Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Rush lyricist/drummer extraordinaire returns with another collection of essays about life on the road, the pleasures (and perils) of the journey and lessons learned along the way.

In continuing to chronicle his unique way of getting to “work”—that is, motorcycling between concert venues while his band mates, or the “Guys at Work,” travel by more conventional means—Peart (Far and Away: A Prize Every Time, 2011, etc.) serves up both a chronological and thematic sequel to his last collection. Originally published on the author’s website, these essays are very much intended for a core audience of Rush/Peart fans, though references to the band’s music and performances are less prevalent than might be assumed. Instead, the focus is on roads less traveled—primarily physically but also metaphorically—and the challenges and benefits of pursuing such paths, whether on a motorcycle or intellectually. As the author is fond of saying, “The best roads are the ones no one travels unless they live on them,” and he makes it his business to seek them out whether he’s traveling through the American Southwest, Canada or Eastern Europe. With the assistance of his riding companions/longtime friends/security detail, Michael and Brutus, Peart peppers the text with a series of photos that frequently show him riding off on his two-wheeled steed into parts un(der)explored. The author’s flair for mixing in local color, historical anecdotes and personal philosophy keeps pages turning even when the formulaic nature of the entries becomes repetitive. His sense of humor, by turns sophomoric and sophisticated, may induce occasional groans, but it’s a small price to pay to experience the sheer joy Peart takes in life and his passion for sharing it with others.

Far less scandalous than “rock drummer writes book” might suggest but far more interesting, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1770412576

Page Count: 312

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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