In some of the world’s most remote and fascinating locations, Allison sticks resolutely to the most conventional narrative...

DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU

A SAFARI GUIDE’S ENCOUNTERS WITH RAVENOUS LIONS, STAMPEDING ELEPHANTS, AND LOVESICK RHINOS

Safari guide Allison (Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide, 2007) recalls his experiences with deadly animals.

In ragged chronological fashion, the author takes us on a ten-year journey, from his period of guide training, to his unsatisfying experiences as a trainer of other guides, to his four-year Australian hiatus and, finally, his happy return to Africa. The chapters—mainly stand-alone accounts of his experiences—follow a general pattern: I didn’t realize what I was doing; I got in trouble; I escaped with my life! Often the segments begin with a bit of dialogue and feature varying measures of self-deprecation (frequently about his feckless driving), wildlife lore, some exciting bit of danger—often, conveniently, beyond the view of any witnesses other than himself and the beast—and even the occasional insensitive analogy: He makes facetious allusions to both Helen Keller and the fire-bombing of Dresden. Along the way are obligatory I-could’ve-died moments—often late at night, his only weapon a flashlight with dying batteries—with lions, leopards and a particularly annoyed elephant that punished Allison for trying to snatch a souvenir hair or two from its tail. There are moments of regret, too, generally involving the death of an animal. On one occasion the author informed the local authorities about a buffalo threatening the camp; two shooters arrived to deal with it and enacted what the author calls “an incomprehensively brutal slaughter.”

In some of the world’s most remote and fascinating locations, Allison sticks resolutely to the most conventional narrative road.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59921-469-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2009

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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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