Some readers may have no sympathy for the author, but he delivers an emotionally charged, provocative memoir of a man...

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THE TRUTH

AN UNCOMFORTABLE BOOK ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Rolling Stone scribe and infamous Lothario Strauss (Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness, 2011, etc.) chronicles a lascivious seesaw battle between monogamy and debauchery.

For years, sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll seemed to be the author’s mantra, even his very reason for being. The Game, Strauss' notorious 2005 book about the art of seducing beautiful women, helped to catapult the journalist to the heights of literary fortune and fame. But after traveling the globe partying with rock stars and fashionistas in a nonstop thrill ride of overindulgence, Strauss met Ingrid, a woman so wonderful in his eyes that he determined to bury his libertine ways forever and dedicate himself to her exclusively. Of course, he immediately screwed up, reverted to his hound-dog ways and discovered that the only possible way of salvaging Ingrid's affections was to check into a high-priced rehab clinic for sex addicts. Strauss' dark humor and intelligence illuminate his (seemingly useless) initial efforts to get with the program, and the encounters with tightly wound psychologists and hapless addicts like himself are both entertaining and thought-provoking. Unable, or unwilling, to accept monogamy, Strauss again reversed course, ditched therapy, and rededicated himself to the pursuit of a polyamorous lifestyle. What follows is an oddly tedious odyssey of orgiastic excess that appears doomed to everyone except Strauss himself. Still, the edgy author's relentless introspection and willingness to openly navigate the landscape of his sex-soaked psyche are compelling, if often frustrating for readers. "It's a lot to take in and I struggle to understand it all. Then I decide I don't need to understand it,” he writes. “I just need to do it." Music impresario Rick Rubin serves as Strauss' guiding light, intermittently popping in and out with sage advice.

Some readers may have no sympathy for the author, but he delivers an emotionally charged, provocative memoir of a man learning to confront his sexual demons.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-089876-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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