LIGHT MY FIRE

MY LIFE WITH THE DOORS

If anyone were to write a Jim Morrison tell-all, band- and soulmate Manzarek would be the man. But, to his everlasting credit, he didn’t. Using his Doors experiences as the hook, Manzarek reels readers in with personal, often charming, if occasionally cloying, reflections on his life before, during, and since the Doors. He begins with his childhood in a working-class Chicago neighborhood, where his parents introduced him to the sensuous pleasures of the blues and meat-eating (a recurring theme—don’t ask). Later he attended UCLA film school, where he met Morrison. From there, the two lives followed parallel paths to different destinations. Manzarek, the more responsible (or less volatile), met and married his sweetheart, Dorothy, his wife to this day. Morrison became the band’s charismatic front man whose fixation with nihilism and violent imagery, when mated to his heavy drinking and drug use, created what Manzarek calls “Jimbo,” a sociopathic, drunken brute, “a monster. . . . the creature who eventually took Jim to Paris and killed him.” Rather than luxuriate in the sordid details of Morrison’s self-destruction, however, the author mostly prefers to revel in the giddy pleasures of life with the band: the genteel poverty of the early days; camaraderie and bickering among Doors members while on tour; success as known at the top; and even the truth about the Doors’ ill-starred 1969 concert in Miami (for the record, Morrison never exposed himself). If Manzarek feels any rancor over the end of the Doors—he claims that Jim’s 1971 sojourn in Paris was a hiatus, not a break-up—it is directed toward the hangers-on who steered Morrison down his path to self-smashing. Although Manzarek does reserve choice words for the director of the Doors movie, Oliver Stone, such as “fascist,” “psychotic,” and “bonehead.” Whatever. Even these screeds make this pop-culture memoir more engaging. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 29, 1998

ISBN: 0-399-14399-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1998

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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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