NOT DEAD YET

THE MEMOIR

Of beat-keeping, boozing, and stardom: Genesis drummer and solo star Collins tells…well, something approaching all. Two things are evident from the beginning of this amiable tour of a life in pop music. The first is that the author is a somewhat reluctant star, glad of the successes of others and mistrustful of his own: “I ha[d] to follow a solo album that wasn’t meant to be an album, far less a hit,” he writes of his early 1980s breakthrough. “Writing another may not be a task I’m up to.” The second is that Collins is a true-blue fan of rock, having first tasted it as an extra on the set of the Beatles’ 1964 movie A Hard Day’s Night, his scene left on the cutting-room floor for reasons he winningly explains. Throughout, the author skirts some of the tender issues that broke up the monster band Genesis, sending Peter Gabriel to a solo career and Collins from the drummer’s stool to center stage as lead singer. When he criticizes, it is mostly himself in the cross hairs, and when he writes of the dynamics resurrected in a reunion some years back, it is gingerly: “Peter will therefore, unavoidably, take charge of some aspects of the operation. And with the best will in the world, there might be some resentment from some quarters at this.” Collins writes with sensitivity of his alcoholism and shrugs off some of the angst that propelled his biggest hits. “If I was feeling that much pain night after night,” he writes, “I’d be a crackpot.” And he doesn’t toot his horn overmuch, though anyone who can listen to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway without being moved and grooved has no soul. As for “Sussudio,” granted, not so much…. Though without the gruff nastiness of Keith Richards’ Life or the raw poetry of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, this is a pleasing entry in the pop-confessional genre.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-90747-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 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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