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A reverential look inside the intricate workings of Queen, Inc.—likely to appeal mostly to British readers and royal...

A courtier’s fawning portrait of the longed-lived, thoroughly modern monarch.

At 60 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. According to British royal biographer Hardman (A Year with the Queen, 2007, etc.), she has never been so well loved and appreciated by her people for he r many virtues. The author examines the success of her long reign in terms of her ability to confront the “anachronistic pantomime” of the hereditary institution and institute reforms (whether she liked it or not), as she was forced to do with Lord Airlie’s royal-efficiency controls put in place in the ’80s. The royal household resumed paying taxes, thus becoming self-sufficient and managing to prove to the British government its continued relevancy and independence. Hardman rehearses the highs and lows of the queen’s reign, from her triumphal accession in 1952 and world tour a year later, to the frequently abominable behavior of her wayward children, the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992 and aftermath of the death of Lady Diana. Things could only get better. Since the ’90s, the palace staff has modernized, computerized, consolidated dining rooms, opened the pool and royal opera box to more democratic use and acquired an in-palace dairy. The queen makes dizzying tours of her Commonwealth every year and has been served by a dozen British prime ministers, no longer choosing them herself. Except for a rare glimpse at her temper in an unguarded, human moment caught on film in 1954 (hurling shoes and curses at the fleeing Duke of Edinburgh, her husband), Elizabeth II remains in this stately portrait as enigmatic (or merely blank) as she ever was.

A reverential look inside the intricate workings of Queen, Inc.—likely to appeal mostly to British readers and royal watchers.

Pub Date: April 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60598-361-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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

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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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