A NICE TUESDAY

A MEMOIR

Baseball serves as a secondary backdrop for this entertaining autobiographical account of a middle-aged man’s pursuit of unfulfilled dreams. In the late 1950s, Jordan was a highly touted up-and-coming pitching phenom, but he managed only a few years of unsuccessful minor-league play. After leaving the sport in 1962, Jordan eventually became a freelance writer of articles and books (A False Spring, 1975, etc.), but despite his successes, he was still haunted by thoughts of what-could-have-been. Finally, at the age of 56, he returned to pitch one inning in a professional minor-league game for the Waterbury Spirit in Connecticut. While Jordan records vividly the chronology of this event and his physical and mental preparation for the challenge, the book is filled more with revelations of the author’s past and with present-day anecdotes, as he tries to make sense of his life’s time-worn journey. Some familiar sports names appear in the book, but it’s the excellently drawn cast of colorful players in Jordan’s life that dominate, including: Susan, his sensual and supportive wife; his older half-brother, George, a lawyer, whose unconditional love is mixed with wistful envy; and Brian LaBasco, the high school catcher who helps Jordan train and who reminds him of “the me I might have been.” Even Jordan’s pet dogs figure prominently: they teach him to love, genuinely and unabashedly. Jordan is a flawed and not particularly noble hero; in fact, his selfishness, weaknesses, and fears are revealed throughout. But this frankness is what gives overall credence to his story and ruminations, helped greatly by his skillful writing, which shifts easily from bawdy bravado to humor to insightful introspection. More a midlife coming-of-age memoir than sports book, a tale of growing older, of second chances, and of making peace with oneself.

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-58238-028-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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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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