Suffice it to say, more than 50 years on, explorations of the truths and fictions of Camelot continue to mesmerize.

THE FABULOUS BOUVIER SISTERS

THE TRAGIC AND GLAMOROUS LIVES OF JACKIE AND LEE

A story of sisterhood that reveals how all the fortune and fame in the world can’t assuage sibling rivalry.

With the exception of their parents’ divorce, it’s hard to imagine a more charmed youth than that of young Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier. These two remarkable women, who would go on to become first lady to President John F. Kennedy and princess to Prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill, had seemingly every possible advantage. However, Vanity Fair vets Kashner and Shoenberger (co-authors: Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century, 2010, etc.) write, the sisters’ relationship was a lifelong balance of love and envy. Case in point: Jackie would go on to marry Aristotle Onassis, Lee’s former lover. With entirely opposite personalities—Lee was outgoing and dramatic, Jackie demur and shy—each seemingly wound up with what would have been the other’s ideal life. In this well-researched dual biography, the authors describe how that fate would both haunt and help them. But while the story is essentially about the sisters, the narrative favors Lee’s perspective, showcasing the often misunderstood socialite’s battle with wanting to be more than just a pretty face. Of course, it was hard to shake that label given the philosophy the girls’ father—failed Wall Street stock broker and alcoholic John Vernou Bouvier III—ingrained in them: “Style…is not a function of how rich you are or even who you are. Style is more a habit of mind that puts quality before quantity, noble struggle before mere achievement, honor before opulence. It’s what you are….It’s what makes you a Bouvier.” Living up to such an ideal would become Lee’s Achilles heel, and her illustrious love life often overshadowed her attempts at self-actualization. Not surprisingly, the supporting casts—Truman Capote, Peter Beard et al.—in the lives of the Bouvier sisters were just as flawed and fascinating.

Suffice it to say, more than 50 years on, explorations of the truths and fictions of Camelot continue to mesmerize.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-236498-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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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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