A likable, mostly generous and well-written look back at the days of bedding starlets and destroying hotels.

ROD

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY

In which Roderick David Stewart, aka Rod the Mod, bares all—not least the secrets of spiky hair.

If Keith Richards is the dangerous old man of rock ’n’ roll, Rod Stewart is the standards-crooning nice old geezer. Even in his down-and-dirty days—for example, snorting mounds of cocaine with pal Elton John—he was a nice guy, unless, perhaps, you were married to him. This memoir sails from one mostly amiable anecdote to another, quickly revealing an odd factoid: Like recent memoirist Neil Young, Stewart is a model-train fanatic (“In December 2010, I reached a major career milestone. I appeared on the cover of Model Railroader magazine for the second time. Getting on the front of Rolling Stone had nothing on this”). Unlike Young, Stewart is no motor geek. He admits to liking to drive cool cars without feeling the need to know anything about them, instead reserving his major store of passion for models (female, not railroads) and soccer. Stewart charts his rise from unwashed beatnik poet to lead singer with the Faces, a position fraught with politics and intrigue. He is surprisingly modest about the three great solo albums that marked his work in the early 1970s, though he does reveal the secret of how “Maggie May” came to be written, and he is nicely cheeky about his decline later in the decade (“I may have lost the thread a couple of times in that period”). Even so, he professes to being somewhat mystified by his being named the enemy of all things punk in the ’70s, since the likes of the Sex Pistols worshiped the Faces. He pulls off a nice and not too heavy-handed bit of comeuppance, though, even while compounding his enemy status with the runaway commercial success of his four albums of grandpa-era standards, which is perhaps forgivable in a man approaching 70.

A likable, mostly generous and well-written look back at the days of bedding starlets and destroying hotels.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-98730-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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