A thorough, timely biography of the man likely to become king in the next decade or so.

A sympathetic psychological study of the prince who has been working tirelessly all his life to be taken seriously.

Having written previously on other members of the modern English dynasty (Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, 2012, etc.), British biographer Smith provides plenty of astute observations in her biography of the Prince of Wales, who is now 68. His 90-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth II, is finally slowing down and deputizing some of her tasks to her eldest son, although she has no intention of abdicating. After espousing vociferously and often controversially throughout his life on causes he is passionate about—organic farming and other environmental issues, traditional architecture versus modern, creating opportunity and education for disadvantaged youth, alternative medicine and homeopathy, among many others—Charles seems to be toning down his rhetoric in preparation for the establishment of a more disciplined tone, à la his efficient, well-loved mother. Smith is not the first biographer to depict the young prince as love-starved, lonely, and emotionally vulnerable, although her portrait is enormously touching and supported by wide-ranging interviews and research. Elizabeth’s hands-off approach to child-raising, Charles’ father’s bullying, the hypercriticism of the press, and his position of impotence within the royal succession all colluded in pushing him into a disastrous first marriage with a far-too-young, inexperienced, and emotionally damaged soul, Diana Spencer. In fact, he always loved and needed the one woman who bolstered his confidence, listened to him, and shared his pursuits, the married Camilla Parker-Bowles. Indeed, Smith portrays Camilla in a very generous light and Diana as seriously psychologically impaired. Throughout, the author traces the roots of Charles’ many fascinating and beneficial "obsessions"; he was a prescient prince who scorned the playboy label and tried valiantly to do something good with his wealth and connections.

A thorough, timely biography of the man likely to become king in the next decade or so.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6790-9

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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