Personal reflections and policy proposals from the minority leader of the House of Representatives. Gephardt (D-Missouri) is something of an anomaly within his party these days in that he actually sounds like a Democrat. He is pro-union, admits to being a liberal, thinks government has a positive role to play in the lives of American citizens, and doesn’t much like the policies of the Republicans. Yet as partisan as he is, he decries what he terms “the politics of personal destruction,” the vindictive war of innuendo and accusation between the two major parties that has been going on in Congress since the time of Watergate. Citizens, he fears, now view politics as little more than “gladiatorial entertainment” and so see little value in participating in the political process. Gephardt sounds sincere when he states that he believes such cynicism can be overcome and enumerates several ways in which cooperatively we can all make America an even better place. Unfortunately, he does not go into much detail on what specifically we all might do. Though he covers a number of important policy areas—from labor relations to health care, foreign trade to schooling—his recommendations are safely vague, his arguments underdeveloped. He is perhaps most effective when he ties his own son’s battle with cancer to the need for health-care coverage for all Americans, but sums up what might be done in a single sentence suggesting that tax credits for small businesses could help. Assisted by former aide Wessel, Gephardt writes clearly and accessibly; it’s regrettable that he seems to feel the need to oversimplify in order to reach a wide audience. Not bad, as books by politicians go. Gephardt does seem to truly care about where America is headed. However, he’s ambiguous as to just where that might be. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-891620-16-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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