A new love adds depth to this engaging story of personal growth.

LEARNING TO FLY

AN UNCOMMON MEMOIR OF HUMAN FLIGHT, UNEXPECTED LOVE, AND ONE AMAZING DOG

The abrupt end to her marriage left climber and skydiver Davis (High Infatuation: A Climber's Guide to Love and Gravity, 2007) depressed and without a sense of purpose—but not for long.

For 12 years, the author writes, she and her husband led a life of “pure adventure and self-invention, and nothing about it was safe.” Traveling around the world, they challenged each other to various daredevil adventures, including difficult solo climbs without ropes. All this changed when her husband defied an unwritten rule against climbing a possibly fragile sandstone arch in a national park in Utah. He became the target of a media-fueled outcry. Under the threat of criminal proceedings, the pair lost the commercial sponsorship that had sustained their frugal existence, and he abandoned her and disappeared. Skydiving was the one experience she had been unwilling to share with her husband; after 20 years as a rock climber, a fear of falling was ingrained in her. Now, however, Davis was determined to engage in this new challenge. She provides a gripping account of how she overcame her fears and her delight as she mastered the skills needed to skydive. While the adrenaline rush from landing safely is part of the thrill, the intense mental focus necessary for making split-second decisions on opening her chute was also addictive. Overcoming her previous fears, she combined solo rock climbing with potentially dangerous jumps from rocky peaks but received a necessary lesson in caution when she lost control during a jump and was injured.

A new love adds depth to this engaging story of personal growth.

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1451652055

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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