Mountaineering and biography in expert hands.



A gripping account of the 1913 ascent of Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), North America’s highest mountain.

Though Denali’s summit, 20,310 feet, is 9,000 feet lower than Everest’s, “the topography, and its position so far north (Everest, by contrast, is on the same latitude as Miami), produce some of the rawest, coldest, windiest conditions on Earth.” Environmental journalist and outdoorsman Dean combines a grueling mountain-climbing chronicle with a revealing life of the co-leader of the first successful Denali expedition, Hudson Stuck (1863-1920), an impressive figure who deserves to be better known. Born in England and fascinated by the outdoors, Stuck moved to Texas in 1885, working as a ranch hand and teacher before entering the ministry. Within a few years, he was dean of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, the largest church in Texas. A liberal churchman, he supported progressive causes such as ending child labor; however, in Texas, reforms came slowly. Growing restless, he accepted an appointment as “Archdeacon of the Yukon and the Arctic, with responsibility for 250,000 square miles in the interior of Alaska.” Arriving in 1904, he maintained a fierce pace, traveling by river or dogsled to establish missions, hospitals, schools, and libraries while writing on Alaskan life and lobbying against exploitation of the Indigenous population. Still in love with the wilderness, he yearned to climb Denali. Assembling a team that included a veteran adventurer, a mission volunteer, and a young Alaskan Native, they set off on the three-week trek by dogsled to the mountain. All four kept journals, enabling Dean to deliver a detailed account of the two months of torment that followed. Unable to pull his weight the 50-year-old Stuck often seemed on the verge of collapse, but he persisted. Those not captivated by climbing will puzzle over the misery these adventurers embraced, but they will keep reading. The event made Stuck a national celebrity; he traveled, lectured, and wrote popular books but also continued his good works in Alaska and died with many honors.

Mountaineering and biography in expert hands.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64313-642-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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 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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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