A clear and concise memoir of introspection, though Cohen’s journalistic approach may not provide abundant hope for readers.

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CHASING HOPE

A PATIENT'S DEEP DIVE INTO STEM CELLS, FAITH, AND THE FUTURE

A longtime multiple sclerosis patient seeks the meaning of hope.

For four decades, award-winning journalist Cohen (Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope, 2008, etc.) has lived with multiple sclerosis, a condition shared by his father and grandmother that has left him legally blind and with impaired movement. Through the years, the author has found many ways to cope with his condition (not to mention with two bouts of cancer), but he rarely thought of himself as having “hope.” An invitation to participate in stem cell research changed that. Throughout the book, Cohen touches on a variety of important themes, including how to live with chronic health conditions and the advancement of genetic treatments for such conditions. However, it is mainly a retelling of his own story, a means for catharsis. The author interviewed his children about their memories of him during their childhoods, during which he was prone to intense anger. The lack of any meaningful treatments for MS, as well as the lack of caring physicians, left Cohen with little to anticipate aside from a slowly degrading body. Meeting Dr. Saud Sadiq, however, forced him to look at his future anew. A pioneer in stem cell research for MS and a physician intensely committed to his patients, Sadiq allowed Cohen to experience not only hope for his own condition, but also encouragement that his suffering had not been in vain, that his treatment might lead the way to help for others. A committed nonbeliever, Cohen makes it clear that while many find hope in God—in one form or another—he does not. “For me, belief in the power of hope is linked to belief in the self.” Moreover, ties of family and friendship give people the very reason to hope. “Hope is a gift from us to us,” writes the author.

A clear and concise memoir of introspection, though Cohen’s journalistic approach may not provide abundant hope for readers.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-57525-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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