A vivid portrait of a remarkable woman.



An accomplished and determined woman transcended racial barriers to rise to prominence.

Carter (Law/Yale Univ.; Back Channel: 2014, etc.), former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, celebrates the life of his grandmother, Eunice Hunton Carter (1899-1970), who forged an astonishing legal career that included successfully prosecuting mobster Lucky Luciano. At the age of 8, Eunice told a young friend that she wanted to become a lawyer “to make sure the bad people went to jail.” Two decades later, she acted on that desire. After graduating with degrees from Smith College, a married mother of a 2-year-old son enmeshed in the social whirl of upper-society Harlem, she realized that she was thoroughly bored. She enrolled at Fordham Law School, one of the few that admitted women and blacks, and earned a law degree in 1932. Two years later, the GOP tapped her to run for New York state assembly against the Democratic incumbent: “Black and female, conservative and brilliant, charming and charismatic,” she seemed the perfect candidate. Although she lost that race, the campaign gave her visibility, and soon Mayor Fiorello La Guardia appointed her to a special commission to investigate rioting and unrest that had erupted in Harlem. Her career took off in 1935, when Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey hired her to join his team investigating mob activities in New York. It was, writes Carter, “the job every young lawyer wanted.” Eunice became Dewey’s staunch supporter, campaigning for him when he ran for Manhattan district attorney, New York governor, and president against Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Yet he always picked others to fill important appointments. Nevertheless, Eunice’s many social and political activities earned her widespread admiration. Carter places Eunice’s experiences in the context of American culture, politics, and her own family: her activist mother; her defiant brother, whose Communist Party membership, Eunice believed, threatened her career; and her son (the author’s father). Eunice could be imperious, “judgmental and often dismissive,” impatient and aloof. Quitting, the author writes, “was not in her nature.”

A vivid portrait of a remarkable woman.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-12197-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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 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

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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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