Fromm’s finely tuned reflections on this small but fully inhabited piece of the backwoods make this an adventure worth...

THE NAMES OF THE STARS

A LIFE IN THE WILDS

A middle-aged novelist and creative-writing teacher spends a month in the wilderness keeping an eye on baby fish for the National Forest Service and reliving his earlier experiences in the wild.

When Fromm (If Not for This, 2014, etc.) heard that he was a candidate to monitor the development of grayling eggs in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana in May and June of 2004, he thought it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce his sons, then 9 and 6, to the wilderness he loves so much. The Forest Service, not surprisingly, vetoed this suggestion, so he ended up on his own, his only human contact brief radio calls to his supervisors a couple of times per week. Fromm had plenty of nonhuman company, however, as he made his daily 10-mile round trip on foot, often through the nearly freezing rain, to check on the progress of the fish. A herd of elk grazed in the field outside his cabin, coyotes howled in the mountains, and he caught more than one glimpse of grizzly and black bears as he made his way down the path. To make sure that they knew he was there, he loudly sang the songs that he used to put his boys to sleep, including “The Noble Duke of York” and “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” The author alternates lovingly observed scenes from the month in the mountains with equally vivid chapters about the time he spent in his early 20s as a river ranger. While physical danger plays a part in the story, with bear attacks always a possibility, the author keeps the emphasis on internal conflict as he tries to reconcile his longing to be with his boys with the love of solitude and nature he hasn’t been able to indulge so thoroughly for years.

Fromm’s finely tuned reflections on this small but fully inhabited piece of the backwoods make this an adventure worth savoring.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-10168-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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