Not the definitive Jagger life, but an enjoyable, entertaining biography.

MICK JAGGER

The second, livelier and all-around better of two major unauthorized Jagger biographies (after Christopher Andersen’s Mick) out in time for the Rolling Stones’ 50th year.

A British novelist, music journalist and biographer, Norman (John Lennon: The Life, 2008, etc.) has made a minicareer telling the stories of the two biggest bands in rock history, the Beatles and the Stones, in several big books. (In his introduction to this mostly sympathetic life, Norman writes, plausibly, that these two bands “constitute one single, epic story.”) Whereas Andersen portrayed Sir Mick as a soulless Narcissus or Faust, Norman succeeds at least partly in getting to the middle-class, suburban man behind the myth; he offers a sort of retort to Keith Richards’ Life (as well as most other Jagger biographies) in shining a slightly better light on his subject. The author convincingly debunks legends like the kinky Mars bar tableau at the Redlands drug arrest in 1967 or Jagger’s coldblooded dismissal of Hells Angel violence at the Altamont festival in 1969. Without shying from uncomplimentary facts about his subject’s worst behaviors—mainly his treatment of the “lesser” Stones Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts and his numerous infidelities—Norman consistently provides evidence of Jagger’s better side: his bouts of generosity (particularly toward friends and lovers in need), the sensitivity that frequently drives him to tears, his mutual adoration of his children by several mothers. Tellingly, the 25 years since the Stones’ silver anniversary in 1982 are compressed into the last 90 pages of the 600-page narrative—even Norman seems to lose interest in Jagger apart from the Stones.

Not the definitive Jagger life, but an enjoyable, entertaining biography.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-194485-7

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more