Readers not put off by the taste of sour grapes will find much of interest here, from the unique mind of one of baseball’s...

BECOMING MR. OCTOBER

With the assistance of Baker (The Big Crowd, 2013, etc.), legendary slugger Jackson (Reggie: The Autobiography, 1984, etc.) attempts to set the record straight about the tumultuous World Series–winning New York Yankees of 1977 and 1978.

When he signed with the Yankees in 1976, Jackson was already a star, having won two championships with the Oakland A’s and a league MVP award in 1973. He also had a reputation for speaking his mind in a way that did not always endear him to teammates and fans. None of this, however, prepared him for the cauldron that was the Yankees, run by manager Billy Martin and owner George Steinbrenner. Much has been written about this team, and Jackson announces early on that this book was born out of his outrage at how he was portrayed in the 2007 miniseries The Bronx Is Burning; indeed, the tone is often aggrieved as the author recounts the many injustices he faced along the way. There’s no denying he has a point: He was often treated unfairly by the press and his teammates and certainly by Martin, a volatile personality at the best of times, who never got over his resentment that Jackson was brought onto the team against his wishes. But whatever was behind the struggles—racism, resentment over his comments to the press, his superstar salary or other factors—Jackson does himself no favors by repetitively rehashing these old wounds, though he does at least acknowledge partial responsibility for some of them. Resentment aside, the author remains a fascinating character who offers plenty of insight into the game as it was played then and now. No baseball fan can deny the greatness of Jackson’s magical three consecutive first-pitch home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, and many will enjoy reliving the moment through his eyes.

Readers not put off by the taste of sour grapes will find much of interest here, from the unique mind of one of baseball’s most enigmatic stars and greatest clutch performers.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-53311-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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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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