A treasure trove of information for readers seduced by the drowned land.

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THE SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS

A HISTORY OF PLATO'S IDEAL STATE

Since the fourth century B.C.E., the fabulous island of Atlantis has invited avid curiosity and speculation.

Kershaw (Classics/Oxford Univ.; A Brief History of the Roman Empire, 2013, etc.) ranges widely and deeply to create a comprehensive overview of the origins, meaning, and legacy of Atlantis, described by Plato in two dialogues. Besides translating and analyzing Plato’s texts, Kershaw draws on geophysical, archaeological, and historical sources to investigate the tale and respond to still-unresolved questions: Was Atlantis a real place? What did Plato mean to convey by his story of the rich and powerful island that disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean? Those questions have spawned responses from historians and archaeologists as well as from many who “have taken the discussion, quite literally, to another world.” Theosophy founder Madame Helena Blavatsky, for example, claimed that Atlantis arose about 850,000 years ago and was the home of the “Fourth Root Race,” one of seven human Root Races corresponding to seven eras in world history. According to Blavatsky and other occultists, Atlantis “had the type of extraordinarily advanced scientific knowledge that has become a standard feature of Atlantological books.” Mystic Edgar Cayce, who said that he connected with spirits of individuals who had once lived on Atlantis, similarly claimed that the island “had some astonishingly advanced technology, much of it driven by energy derived from the power of crystals.” A 17th-century Swedish scholar argued that Atlantis—located in Sweden—was peopled by the descendants of one of Noah’s sons. In addition to presenting assorted bizarre theories, Kershaw explores Greek and Egyptian mythology, Homeric works, and mid-fifth-century Athenian culture to conclude that Atlantis was “an amalgamation of a variety of places and events that Plato would have been aware of from his own upbringing, reading and life experiences.” He believes Plato’s message is “a timeless one about the pernicious effects of wealth on the ruling class,” with lasting appeal because of the “brilliance of Plato’s story-telling.”

A treasure trove of information for readers seduced by the drowned land.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68177-859-4

Page Count: 428

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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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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