A by-the-numbers biography of a minor figure in the history of the American West. Nathan Boone (17811856) lived his life in the shadow of his father, Daniel. According to Hurt (Agricultural History and Rural Studies/Iowa State Univ.), that shadow was long, indeed, but Boone apparently did not hanker for fame. He battled Indians on the Missouri frontier, kept slaves, raised a few crops—lived, in short, a fairly ordinary life for his times. Accidents of history did find him at a few crossroads; he was of incidental help, for one thing, to Lewis and Clark as they made their way across the territory of the Osage Indians (for which service, Hurt is careful to note, he was paid $46.50), and he fought well in several engagements in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War. Later, Boone served as a career soldier, spending most of his service in Iowa and the Indian Territory. Hurt's recitation of the facts of Boone's life is efficient but dry; his deepest interests seem to lie in such matters as the economics of salt production and the effects of the Treaty of Ghent on US-Indian relations on the frontier, and he treats these matters carefully and with dispassion. Hurt doesn't make undue claims for the importance of his subject. But neither does he do much to make him especially interesting, and Nathan Boone remains little more than a hard-working soldier with a famous father, exhibiting the virtues and vices of his time. The result is a book of only modest interest to students of frontier and US military history. (20 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8262-1159-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Univ. of Missouri

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

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 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...


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?