“You only live once, and that woman lived,” Rita Mae Brown once said. Weintraub ably conveys this sentiment.

THE DIVINE MISS MARBLE

A LIFE OF TENNIS, FAME, AND MYSTERY

The first full-length biography of a multitalented and mysterious athlete.

Tennis champion. Fashion designer. Singer. Writer. Teacher. Motivational speaker. Celebrity. Alice Marble (1913-1990), writes Weintraub, was all of these and more. Yet for a woman of such prominence, her life remains shrouded in mystery. Born in a small California town to modest circumstances, she moved with her family to San Francisco as a child. It was there that her athleticism blossomed, first in baseball—as a teenager, she was the mascot for the San Francisco Seals—and then in tennis. Guided by her coach and mentor Eleanor Tennant, she won five singles titles and 13 doubles titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals during her amateur tennis career. Marble also hobnobbed with celebrities such as Clark Gable, advocated for black tennis player Althea Gibson, and contributed to the Wonder Woman comic book. As for her personal life, she wrote of her marriage to a man who was killed in action during World War II and also asserted that she spied on a former lover in Geneva during the closing days of the conflict. Yet for all his prodigious research, Weintraub is unable to verify either of these stories. This poses a problem for readers, as does the author’s occasional verbosity—e.g., why not use “typewriter” instead of “keys of an Underwood”? Nonetheless, Weintraub more than compensates for such minor flaws. He skillfully provides the historical and social contexts for Marble’s life, and his sketches of her contemporaries, particularly Tennant, are enlightening. The author also deftly sprinkles his narrative with charming anecdotes, such as the story of Marble’s brief (and frustrating) tenure as tennis instructor for future astronaut Sally Ride.

“You only live once, and that woman lived,” Rita Mae Brown once said. Weintraub ably conveys this sentiment.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4536-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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