Bold, well-crafted biography of a long-elusive and controversial public figure.

MIKE WALLACE

A LIFE

A probing biography unveils the insecure depressive lurking inside 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace.

Rookie biographer Rader manages to tease out the fallible humanity in an otherwise attack-dog TV reporter who’s always kept his real persona hidden from everyone—including himself. Since his subject’s career spans some 70 years, Rader’s book also serves as a fascinating history of the development of entertainment media in America—namely, TV tabloid-style journalism, which Wallace played an important role in shaping over the years. Although Wallace went from cigarette pitch man to TV talk shows to dubious status as the most feared hit-man reporter on one of the longest running and most revered shows on TV, 60 Minutes, he could never quite come to terms with his identity when he wasn’t busy conducting boisterous and revealing interviews with everyone from Malcolm X to Lyndon Johnson to Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rader’s revelations about Wallace go to some pretty impressive psychological depths: He is portrayed as a man who could dish out withering examinations of others, but knew he might not be capable of withstanding attacks on his own credibility. Although Wallace had his way with presidents, world leaders, celebrities and everyone in between, he finally reached his mental breaking point during the 1980s slander suit that pitted Gen. William Westmoreland against Wallace and 60 Minutes; an ugly trial led Wallace to a botched suicide attempt. Rader’s portrait is of the classic American workaholic, one whose burning ambition and freakishly tireless work ethic were fueled by massive insecurities and existential crises.

Bold, well-crafted biography of a long-elusive and controversial public figure.

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-54339-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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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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