An inimitable life captured with spirited, winning immediacy.



Legendary art lecturer and L’OEIL magazine founder Bernier (Matisse, Picasso, Miró—As I Knew Them, 1991) collates jam-packed brief sketches of her long, eventful life.

As a roving fashion editor for Vogue from 1945 onward, the author met all the modern artists of the time, in music, design, photography and painting. She was one of the few journalists invited into the studios of Picasso, Matisse and Louise Bourgeois, and she depicts these prickly personalities with a startlingly freshness and intimacy. Bernier’s fortuitous career path was due partly to her peripatetic upbringing and family ties. Born in 1916 to an English mother and American Jewish lawyer from Philadelphia who was steeped in music, Bernier attended English boarding school and Sarah Lawrence College. She befriended musicians like Aaron Copeland and his disciple Leonard Bernstein early on, while living in Mexico after college and during her first marriage. Bernier got offered three jobs at Vogue at once, mostly by accident and knowing the right people. She admitted to Edna Chase that she knew nothing about fashion, to which the redoubtable editor replied: “My child, I know a fashion editor when I see one.” Tracking stories in Paris meant helping Horst photograph Gertrude Stein and her poodle; getting fabulous discount clothes from Balenciaga’s tailors and others; and being asked to interview Coco Chanel when she staged her postwar comeback in 1954. Each vignette is riveting with particulars. Bernier’s later years were notable for her marriage to English art critic John Russell and successful career as a “professional talker,” roaming the world giving lessons in art history.

An inimitable life captured with spirited, winning immediacy.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-26661-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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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 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...


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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