A welcome excavation of an obscure corner of Holocaust history.

LEFT TO THE MERCY OF A RUDE STREAM

THE BARGAIN THAT BROKE ADOLF HITLER AND SAVED MY MOTHER

The son of a Holocaust survivor rehearses the horrors of his mother’s captivity, the improbability of her survival, and the deleterious lingering effects on her—and him.

Goldman (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles), the on-air legal editor for Fox News from 1996 to 2006, has several objectives here: to outline a piece of the history of the Holocaust (grim reminders of inhumanity appear on virtually every page), tell his mother’s remarkable story, ruminate about the perpetrators of the atrocities, and condemn those who profited by it, especially Alfried Krupp, whose family and wartime business found great success because of the Nazi war machine—and because of the labor of Jewish slaves. Although the author focuses primarily on his mother, he occasionally employs a wide-angle lens to show us what was going on throughout war-torn Europe; he even deals some with the stories of Anne Frank, Raoul Wallenberg, and other Holocaust icons. His mother’s story is astonishing; her survival, virtually impossible. As the war was winding down, she was working in the concentration camp at Ravensbrück and would almost certainly have died there if not for one man’s negotiation with Heinrich Himmler, who, seeing the end of the war (and realizing what would happen to him), made a deal to release some Jewish women, Goldman’s mother among them. She then traveled to Sweden, stayed about a year and a half and immigrated to America, where she married (the Nazis had shot her first husband) and gave birth to the author. Her dark memories never left her, and Goldman describes his own difficulties dealing with her as she aged and struggled. The author works hard to maintain a scholar’s tone in his text, but throughout, he also shows us the blood of millions seeping through his pages.

A welcome excavation of an obscure corner of Holocaust history.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-64012-044-0

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Potomac Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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