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At times, the narrative reads like a gossip rag for the fabulously wealthy, but it’s an enjoyable book that lets us live...

Renowned auctioneer de Pury presents a memoir full of gossip, anecdotes, and tales of the very, very rich.

The author always had a physical, rather than intellectual, approach to art. Pure joy was just seeing and being around great art. De Pury, who is assisted by co-author Stadiem (Jet Set: The People, The Planes, The Glamour and the Romance in Aviation’s Glory Years, 2014, etc.), makes no secret of the fact that he has always been an ambitious snob and elitist, required assets for an auctioneer to those with large, expensive collections to sell. His first job was with art dealer and “total genius” Ernst Beyeler, a hometown friend of his mother in Basel, Switzerland. In 1971, Beyeler created Art Basel, and he laid out a five-year plan for the boy who still thought he wanted to be an artist. He showed him that buying and selling can be just as rewarding. The author moved on to Sotheby’s and met Peter Cecil Wilson, “the seemingly mythical chairman” and auctioneer extraordinaire. In Wilson, de Pury discovered the techniques to copy in hopes of being as great as his role model. Occasionally, the book is a true ego trip, with the author recalling his record-breaking sales as “the gallery swooned” or “the crowd breathed a collective ‘wow.’ ” De Pury engages in unabashed name-dropping and delivers plenty of juicy tidbits about some of the world’s 1 percent. However, this is also the story of a man wholly dedicated to his profession, a jet-setter before the jet age. He served as curator for one of the world’s greatest art collectors, Baron Heini Thyssen, and was also the owner of the acclaimed auction house Phillips.

At times, the narrative reads like a gossip rag for the fabulously wealthy, but it’s an enjoyable book that lets us live vicariously in the haut monde.

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-05978-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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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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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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