A well-reported, densely written saga with a gigantic cast of characters that becomes difficult to track through the...

READ REVIEW

CIRCLE OF GREED

THE SPECTACULAR RISE AND FALL OF AMERICA’S MOST FEARED AND LOATHED LAWYER

Two Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists explore the world of a lawyer who became wealthy by representing plaintiffs against multinational corporations committing fraud, but who simultaneously defraded the legal system.

California Monthly executive editor Dillon (Lost at Sea, 1998) and politicsdaily.com deputy editor Cannon (co-author: Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy, 2008, etc.) delve into the career of William S. Lerach, a San Diego–based lawyer in the New York City law firm of Milberg Weiss. Specializing in class-action lawsuits, Lerach sued Fortune 500 companies—including Enron, Tyco and WorldCom—on behalf of shareholders who believed they deserved recompense for the misdeeds of corporate officers. The plaintiffs would each normally receive relatively small monetary awards combined with the satisfaction of seeing corporate managers admit wrongdoing. Lerach and his law partners, meanwhile, would each win fees reaching into the millions of dollars. Lerach, born in Pittsburgh in 1946, tended to portray his upbringing as deprived, partly because his family had allegedly been taken advantage of by heartless drones from corporate America. In fact, the authors disclose, Lerach grew up in a stable, middle-class family. Nonetheless, his sense of perceived injustice drove him to the plaintiff’s bar, with lucrative private-sector institutions as his targets. The lawyer’s eventual celebrity grew not only because of his skilled lawyering but also his aggressive behavior—including highly publicized verbal challenges—toward nearly everybody who crossed his path, sometimes including his mentor Melvyn Weiss. Although the authors portray a hidden humanitarian streak in Lerach, for the most part he comes across as deeply unpleasant. His final downfall, which led to a prison term and the termination of his law practice, centers on a scheme to recruit plaintiffs with cash. He is scheduled to complete his prison term during 2010.

A well-reported, densely written saga with a gigantic cast of characters that becomes difficult to track through the ever-shifting narrative.

Pub Date: March 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7679-2994-3

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more