HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY

LINDA DARNELL AND THE AMERICAN DREAM

Warm, richly researched life of dark-haired, limpid-eyed Linda Darnell, who made her first picture at 15 playing an adult and seemingly kept her face-in-the-twilight flawlessness fresh forever. Darnell was the daughter of hard-drinking, part-Cherokee Pearl Brown Darnell, who was set like steel on making her daughter a movie star. Even as a child, Darnell was so forbiddingly beautiful that she seemed set aside by nature and had few friends. Mother had her out singing and dancing all over Dallas andthough the child did neither wellwinning prizes largely on sheer looks. A screen test at 15 eventually landed her the lead in Hotel for Women (1939), and her third picture, Star Dust (1940), was autobiographical, about her discovery by Hollywood. Still in her teens, she played against her idol, Tyrone Power, making some of her best films with him while going to school on the Fox lot. Whether this forced bloom was the cause or not, she never had a menstrual period throughout her life, and felt her beauty was a fraud. Her first husband, a 42-year-old cameraman she married at 19, taught her to knock back whiskey and by her early 20s she was an alcoholic, as tough and hard-swearing as her outrageous mother. Her greatest successes were Forever Amber, A Letter to Three Wives, and Preston Sturgess's original Unfaithfully Yours. Her big love was for Joseph L. Manckiewicz, who wrote and directed her best worka six-year affair, although Joe was married, as was Linda. By 31, she'd been cast aside by Hollywood. She spent her last decade in ever more desperate show- biz turns, went broke, never rose above the bottle battle, died in a housefire at 41 just after watching a midnight rerun of Star Dust on TV. Well done, quite believable, in some ways a model celebrity bio in its method, although the writing is not distinguished and any study of Darnell's acting talentslimited though they wereis scanted.

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8061-2327-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1991

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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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