Finebaum is articulate and knows his football, though this book is just more candy for his admirers and grist for the mills...

MY CONFERENCE CAN BEAT YOUR CONFERENCE

WHY THE SEC STILL RULES COLLEGE FOOTBALL

A pedal-to-the-metal survey of SEC football.

Radio and TV sports personality Finebaum is known as the “Mouth of the South,” and for the first few pages, his local boosterism and sheer windbaggery will make readers understand why his title comes with capital letters: “The SEC is college football’s version of Rome, the center of the football universe. Long may it rule.” Given the past 10-plus years in college football, it may be hard to argue with him on that note. When he comes out with “the most meaningful traditions,” readers may have already had enough, but then another note creeps in—“the most decadent football stadiums…the most obscene operating budgets…the kind of personal scandals that give TMZ a reason to live…the most obnoxiously large marching bands"—and you realize that the Mouth has a Tongue that is at least partly in Cheek. Wade through the logorrhea, and plenty of worthy football nuggets and insights become evident. Finebaum presents a sharp profile of Texas A&M and many chromatic vignettes of other football towns. The author also picks coaches apart. Of legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant, he writes, “I couldn’t understand a word he said. It was as if he were speaking in tongues.” And former Florida and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer: “a good and decent person underneath the steely demeanor. Don’t misunderstand me: I wouldn’t want to go on an Alaskan cruise with him.” For all Finebaum’s ego and opinions, there is plenty of false modesty. As a TV commentator, he writes, “I was born with the facial elasticity of an IRS auditor.” The author is always well-informed and plenty happy to deliver judgment: “Clemson is always good for at least one inexplicable letdown per season.”

Finebaum is articulate and knows his football, though this book is just more candy for his admirers and grist for the mills of his detractors.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-229741-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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