This engrossing biography of an often excruciatingly difficult though uniquely gifted actor should encourage readers to seek...

PETER O'TOOLE

THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY

The life and career of enigmatic stage and film actor Peter O’Toole (1932-2013).

Contemporary audiences may best know O’Toole from his luminous portrayal of T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, but he had a varied career that spanned several decades, earning him significant critical notice through the years and an impressive eight Academy Award nominations. O’Toole rode the crest of his stardom in the 1960s, when, fresh from his star-making turn as Lawrence, he was busily sought after for numerous leading film roles. Yet his increasing alcohol consumption and a habitually chaos-driven personal life frequently intersected with his professional pursuits and gradually began to undermine his career. Sellers (What Fresh Lunacy Is This?: The Authorised Biography of Oliver Reed, 2013, etc.) provides a well-researched and colorful overview of O’Toole’s background, from his earliest theatrical performances through the many films and stage productions of later years. The author also focuses a lot of attention on the destructive side of his subject’s personality, diligently tracking every extended pub crawl and public disturbance he caused. O’Toole’s high jinks were often in the company of other notable talents of his generation, several of whom have become inebriated legends in their own rights, including actors Richard Burton and Richard Harris, who, together with O’Toole and Oliver Reed, were the subject of an earlier Sellers biography, Hellraisers (2009). Chronicling the latter portion of O’Toole’s career, with his stardom diminished and a few life-threatening episodes forcing him to abstain, at least somewhat, from drinking, the author gradually shifts his focus to O’Toole’s craft as an actor and his particular skills for building his performances. This approach leads to greater insight into his personality and provides more depth to the narrative.

This engrossing biography of an often excruciatingly difficult though uniquely gifted actor should encourage readers to seek out some of O’Toole’s many memorable film performances.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-09594-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more