A likable but inessential showbiz memoir.

EASY STREET (THE HARD WAY)

A MEMOIR

The cult favorite looks back.

Perlman, the veteran character actor perhaps best known for his starring roles in TV’s Sons of Anarchy and the Hellboy film franchise, recounts his life and career in an engagingly off-the-cuff manner. Unfortunately, the details of his personal life aren’t particularly noteworthy, and his admirable focus on positivity renders most of his showbiz anecdotes rather bland. The exception is his amusingly baffled account of the filming of the notoriously troubled remake of The Island of Doctor Moreau, which was essentially hijacked by the inscrutable and monumentally frustrating star Marlon Brando—for whom the author expresses boundless affection and respect. Perlman is candid about insecurities regarding his unique looks and oddly paced career—in which unusual properties, such as the caveman epic Quest for Fire, the medieval mystery The Name of the Rose and the hit supernatural soap Beauty and the Beast, would lead to enormous buzz followed by long periods of unemployment as Hollywood struggled to consistently service the difficult-to-categorize actor whose appearance changed radically from project to project—but the book would have benefitted from a greater emphasis on the creation of Perlman’s cult favorites and less on his personal emotional struggles. Still, the actor’s voice, full of casual profanity, vintage hipster slang and an endearing tendency to overreach with elevated vocabulary, is as distinctive as his craggy features and imposing screen presence. He’s good company on the page, and fans may wish for further musings on the stories behind the vivid monsters he has so memorably brought to the screen. In closing, he writes, “just so I get off on the right foot, here’s a little tip for you talent out there: make sure your people show you everything that is offered.”

A likable but inessential showbiz memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-306-82344-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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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