A harrowing, sporadically self-serving account of life in and away from the British monarchy.

SPARE

A royal tell-all with some substance.

Arriving at the end of the royal couple’s multimedia barrage that included a six-part Netflix documentary, Prince Harry’s eagerly anticipated memoir delivers further revelations about his struggles within the institution of the British monarchy and the unrelenting harassment he has endured from the British tabloids. The author also offers insights into his reported feuds with his brother, Prince William, and father, King Charles—most recently regarding his relationship with his wife, Meghan Markle. It may seem that Prince Harry has a particular ax to grind, and this notion intensifies as he recounts the events related to his courtship of Meghan. However, his story is more substantive than some readers might expect, depending on their loyalties to the monarchy. Beginning with memories of his mother’s tragic death in 1997, the author moves on to his lackluster schooling at Eton and his more remarkable career in the British Army (he served two combat tours in Afghanistan). The narrative frequently casts evocative light on the inner workings of the British monarchy and the various players involved. While his pen may be more harshly directed toward his father and brother than to others, such as Queen Elizabeth, the author also provides interesting glimpses into the likes of Prince Philip and Camilla, queen consort. If sometimes disparaging, his portraits are also surprisingly sympathetic. The prose is competent, and the author’s tales are consistently engaging—and far less smarmy than the self-aggrandizing tone set in the Netflix series. Readers may question Prince Harry’s motives, but his emotional struggles, though occasionally rendered in an overwrought fashion, feel palpable and heartfelt. “My problem has never been with the monarchy, nor the concept of monarchy,” he writes. “It’s been with the press and the sick relationship that’s evolved between it and the Palace. I love my Mother Country, and I love my family, and I always will.”

A harrowing, sporadically self-serving account of life in and away from the British monarchy.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9780593593806

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

Did you like this book?

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

Did you like this book?

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?

more