Abramowitz's strength as a writer emerges in her ability to let her subjects speak candidly and openly about their...

IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET?

WOMEN'S EXPERIENCE OF POWER IN HOLLYWOOD

From countless interviews with Hollywood's female elite, Abramowitz compiles a mesmerizing account of the sometimes-ugly confluence of sex, power, and celebrity amid the tarnish of Tinseltown.

Beginning and ending with the death of studio chief Dawn Steel, Abramowitz (Premiere magazine) describes a Hollywood landscape lush with money and power, as well as the rampant sexism that still hinders any woman who wants to grab a piece of the action. Despite the obstacles, many women succeed in these predatory waters, and their stories simultaneously shock and inspire. Abramowitz gives us the full range of Hollywood, from Barbra Streisand's eventual triumph in filming Yentl to Jodie Foster's trauma as the assassination-inspiring wunderkind of Taxi Driver. Sex, of course, is never in short supply, from the affair between Cybill Shepherd and Peter Bogdanovich on the set of The Last Picture Show to the rumors that have long dogged studio head Sherry Lansing that she slept her way to the top. Celebrity may sell in Hollywood, but one of the strengths of Abramowitz's exposé is that she gives us the stories of the women behind the scenes as well. We see, for example, Callie Khouri's creation of Thelma and Louise and Carrie Fisher's odyssey from actress to script doctor, as well as snapshots from the long careers of such Hollywood mainstays as writer Nora Ephron, agent Sue Mengers, and director Elaine May. These topics provide only a brief sampling of Abramowitz's tales: the beauty of the book lies in its encyclopedic ability to address almost every notable woman in Hollywood over the last 30 years.

Abramowitz's strength as a writer emerges in her ability to let her subjects speak candidly and openly about their experiences and passions; the resulting collection celebrates Hollywood's irrepressible ability to entertain while plumbing the dark reaches of its soul.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-679-43754-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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