A brief but poignant work of memoir and history.



In a posthumous publication, the eminent former Israeli leader delivers a heartfelt appeal to the best in the Israeli Jewish character.

Although he was an early proponent of a vigorous Israeli defense system, aviation industry, and Dimona nuclear reactor, Peres (Ben-Gurion, 2011, etc.), who died in 2016, was known in his later career as a peace seeker. In this nonpolemical book, he candidly addresses this contradiction (“it was not me that changed; it was the situation that changed”). Born in 1923 in Poland, where, as a boy, the dream of Zionism caught his imagination, Peres was particularly inspired by the wisdom of his revered grandfather, who told the 11-year-old when he emigrated, “Promise me you’ll always remain Jewish.” A member of Ben Shemen Youth Village, farming on the frontier and also having to defend it from attack, Peres was caught up in the youth movement’s debates of how the country should operate politically, and he became a young leader, catching the eye of the legendary David Ben-Gurion. The author actively campaigned for statehood, and that meant having to prepare for a war against the Arabs. “What good is the birth of a new state,” Ben-Gurion’s logic ran, “if it’s immediately strangled in its crib?” Peres was appointed to transform the Haganah (later to become the Israel Defense Forces), and he comically depicts how he purchased arms directly from Czechoslovakia, then France, before the U.S. became a military supplier. Regarding the building of Dimona, the author cites Israeli policy of “nuclear ambiguity” as the effective deterrent in their enemies’ “belief that they could overpower us.” While Peres offers a self-glorying depiction of his role in the disastrous 1956 Suez Crisis, his desire to make peace with the Palestinians was sincere (he won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Yitzak Rabin and Yasser Arafat), and his drive to render the country a land of high-tech startups was truly visionary. Ultimately, Peres champions Israel as an immigrant nation strengthened by its “culture of chutzpah.”

A brief but poignant work of memoir and history.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-256144-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Custom House/Morrow

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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