A brisk, breezy look at the turbulent world of moviemaking.

A biography about a powerful former studio head.

By the time she was 35, at the helm of Fox Productions, Sherry Lansing was the highest-paid and highest-ranking woman in the American film industry. In his debut biography, entertainment journalist Galloway, executive features editor for the Hollywood Reporter, follows Lansing’s career from her unsuccessful stab at acting to a more satisfying job as a script reader and finally to the positions at Columbia Pictures, Fox, and Paramount that put her in a glaring spotlight. The author acknowledges “hundreds of hours of interviews” with his subject, from which he quotes so liberally that at times he seems more of a ghostwriter than biographer. Nevertheless, he tells an energetic and entertaining story, filled with divas, tantrums, and abundant Hollywood gossip. Besides Lansing, Galloway interviewed scores of actors, directors, producers, and screenwriters, including Michael Douglas, who shared candid recollections about the trials involved in producing Fatal Attraction; Glenn Close, who nearly did not land a role in that film; the demanding Jane Fonda; Titanic director James Cameron; the irascible Sumner Redstone; Steven Spielberg; and Meryl Streep, relatively unknown when she won the part playing opposite Dustin Hoffman in Kramer v. Kramer. Hoffman created “a host of difficulties” on the set, including a horrible relationship with Streep: “at one point,” Galloway divulges, “just before they shot a dramatic scene, out of the blue he hit her, perhaps believing her performance would be more authentic.” The two never acted together after that. Among Lansing’s memorable movies were Forrest Gump, Braveheart, a host of action films, and The Hours. In 2005, Lansing decided to leave movies and, as she put it, “recreate my life.” She established the Sherry Lansing Foundation, a charitable organization focused on cancer research and education, to which she brought the same determination and hands-on management style that had defined her throughout her career.

A brisk, breezy look at the turbulent world of moviemaking.

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-307-40593-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017


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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


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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