A bitter and often shocking memoir of Hans Frank, Nazi Governor-General of Poland, by his journalist son. Beginning with the fact, learned apparently from an aunt, that his mother had no orgasm when he was conceived, and proceeding on to a detailed discussion of his father's execution after he was convicted of war crimes at Nuremberg, including speculation as to the quality of the sound when his father's neck snapped, Frank gives a chronological account of his father's checkered career. A lawyer with dreams of grandeur, the elder Frank participated in a minor way in Hitler's abortive Putsch in 1923. He caught the FÅhrer's eye when he defended some Nazi hooligans, and thereafter his ascent was rapid: Bavarian Minister of Justice; President of the Academy for German Justice; Reich Commissioner for Justice; Minister of the Reich—all while still in his 30s. His first compromise with evil lay in his acquiescence in the murder of S.A. leader Rohm and a number of his associates shortly after Hitler's rise to power. Frank's moral decline after becoming Governor- General of Poland was rapid: ``There is no reason for us to be squeamish when we hear about seventeen thousand people being shot,'' he told one audience. Deeply corrupt—they extorted furs and antiques from wealthy Jews—he and his wife laid themselves open to blackmail by Himmler. The son was seven years old when he had a last view of his father, visiting him in the death cell. Unfortunately, the cruelty of the father is matched by a certain cruelty in the son, and the format of the book, an extended conversation with the elder Frank in which the younger mocks and denounces his father's life, diminishes both the subject and the sympathy we would otherwise have for the son. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 1991

ISBN: 0-394-58345-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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