A tender, charming portrait of a consummate canine connoisseur.



The first truly personal story from Coren (Psychology/Univ. of British Columbia; The Modern Dog: How Dogs Have Changed People and Society and Improved Our Lives, 2009, etc.), an expert on human-dog interaction.

The author’s previous books have addressed how man’s best friend thinks, behaves, speaks and interprets, and why humans love them so much. This memoir follows suit with charming biographical history of his youth enriched by a variety of pets, all of whom played a large part in his emotional development. Though he’d been bitten by dogs before—and endured the painful rabies treatment required—his affinity for canines continued to prosper. Even as his psychology career began to dominate his free time, Coren remained dedicated to the dogs in his life. His training as a researcher, psychologist and dog enthusiast “unlocked for me a way of looking at canine behavior and human relationships with dogs.” The author’s early history soon yields to life with Joan, a mature, married student from one of his evening university psychology classes in Vancouver. As her abusive marriage dissolved and her romance with the author simmered, Joan, recognizing his love of dogs, purchased an oversized Cairn terrier resembling “a jumbo version of Toto.” As the “canine whirlwind” named Flint began the bonding process, Coren foreshadows an increasingly volatile relationship between Joan and the “effervescent” pet, who became more of an irritant than a companion to her, even after her marriage to the author. Coren notes that Flint’s particular terrier breed is notorious for disobedience, but the dog seemed amenable to the trial-and-error processes of house-training, socialization, obedience, “scent discrimination” and an exuberant stint on the dog-show circuit. Eventually, the author adopted and trained a new spaniel puppy, Wizard, who buffered Joan’s middle-aged angst and soothed the author's grief as Flint succumbed to old age.

A tender, charming portrait of a consummate canine connoisseur.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4391-8920-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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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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