HEMINGWAY'S BOAT

EVERYTHING HE LOVED IN LIFE, AND LOST, 1934-1961

A splendid view of Papa and his beloved boat Pilar.

“You know you love the sea and would not be anywhere else,” wrote Ernest Hemingway in Islands in the Stream. In 1934, already the “reigning monarch of American literature” for The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, he bought a 38-foot motorized fishing vessel at a Brooklyn boatyard and set out for the Caribbean. “Mr. H. is like a wild thing with his boat,” wrote Pauline, his second wife. An integral part of his final 27 years, Pilar offered afternoons of solace on waters between Key West and Cuba, during which Hemingway fished, drank, wrote, bickered with wives and sons and entertained visitors. A former Washington Post feature writer and winner of a National Book Critics Circle award, Hendrickson (Nonfiction Writing/Univ. of Pennsylvania; Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy, 2003, etc.) offers a moving, highly evocative account of Hemingway’s turbulent later years, when he lost the favor of critics, the love of wives and friends and, ultimately, his ability to write. Drawing on interviews, documents (including 34 Pilar logs) and secondary sources, the author succeeds in restoring a sense of Hemingway the man, seen as a flawed, self-sabotaging individual whose kindness and gentleness have been overlooked in accounts of his cruel and boorish side. Even as he attacked critics and fired his shotgun angrily at sea birds, the tortured author proved remarkably sweet and friendly to many, including Arnold Samuelson, an admiring young writer who became Hemingway’s assistant on Pilar; and Walter Houk, now in his 80s, who remembers the author fondly as “a great man with great faults.” Seven years in the making, this vivid portrait allows us to see Hemingway on the Pilar once again, standing on the flying bridge and guiding her out of the harbor at sunrise. Appearing on the 50th anniversary of Hemingway’s death, this beautifully written, nuanced meditation deserves a wide audience.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4000-4162-6

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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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