Veteran actor Linke, best-known for the TV series CHiPS, has turned his recent one-man show and HBO drama into a poignant story of love, death, and life that goes on. Linke and his first wife, Francesca, though products of the iconoclastic 60's, were both finally ready for commitment when they met in 1976 at an L.A. party. Francesca, a musician and composer, had grown up in the East but soon moved west, where she'd become an advocate of alternative medicine and New Age beliefs—reflected in the at-home birth of the couple's first two children, both boys. Shortly after the second pregnancy, Francesca noticed a lump in her breast but sought treatment only after her mother underwent a mastectomy. The lump proved malignant and doctors advised aggressive chemotherapy, but Francesca refused. Instead, she began a lengthy, arduous quest for a natural cure based on diet and biofeedback. She visited Mexican clinics, San Francisco healers, and local practitioners—but the cancer returned. Pregnant with a third child, she refused to terminate the pregnancy as advised and gave birth at home to a daughter. But the cancer had spread to her lungs and Francesca died a year later, aged 37. This kind of story can lend itself to a wholly maudlin telling, but, to Linke's credit, he also describes candidly the reality of life and death: the relieving moments of humor in the darkest hours; his anger when, early on, Francesca seemed preoccupied with her cancer to the exclusion of everything else; and the practical difficulties of coping with death in a household with three small children. Despite a preoccupation with therapists and trends, as well as some inevitable psychobabble, Linke concentrates on the facts, his grief, and the new life that his family has built. Moving testimony from one who's been there and has found that there's a ``passage through loss to life.''

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-55972-183-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Birch Lane Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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