INDIAN CREEK CHRONICLES

A WINTER IN THE BITTERROOT WILDERNESS

From out of the deep, deep wilds of Idaho comes this story of a short-story writer (The Tall Uncut, 1992)-turned-reluctant- backwoodsman. Fired up by the seemingly romantic life led by mountain men, Fromm accepted a position tending a stream full of salmon eggs in the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness. It was to be a stint of seven months, nearly all of them in the meanness of winter. But even before Fromm arrived at camp, he had second thoughts. This wasn't just backcountry, this was way backcountry, and he was grossly unprepared for all the boogies that swarmed down on him— loneliness, inexperience, the awesome interstellar cold, fear. Slowly coming to terms with his situation, the author beat back the demons by keeping busy and taking care not to concentrate too much on just what he had gotten himself into. This retelling of his foray into the wild is strangely compelling, considering its unassuming, understated character. Fromm catalogs his up-country days: settling in; looking after his stream; visiting with his few, far, and mostly absent neighbors; wrestling with his ambivalent feelings about the mountain-lion and bear hunts that figure so prominently in the region; taking long, therapeutic hikes that by and by surrendered the lay of the land to him. The author is sensitive enough to have enjoyed moonlight on snow and the eerie silence of the limitless cold, and, with tenderfoot luck, he witnessed an unexpected total eclipse of the sun, an event that sent him into a vital, whirling dance. Nothing outrageous happened, nothing beyond the pale, but his modest adventures reckoned up to a tale well worth the telling. It was a long haul for Fromm, a brute circumstance, full of tribulation. But he survived to write this fresh-faced account. Bully for him.

Pub Date: May 20, 1993

ISBN: 1-55821-205-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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 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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