A heartwarming story that will hold appeal far beyond just animal lovers.

COMET'S TALE

HOW THE DOG I RESCUED SAVED MY LIFE

The close bond between man and dog is only part of this absorbing tale of love, family and dealing with disability.

At 43, Wolf, a successful attorney, appeared to be at the top of his game when his spine gave way. Only gradually do we learn that his physical problems began when he was 16 and required a spinal fusion. In the years since his surgery, he had pushed himself to the limit. His condition was considered inoperable, and he was forced to retire—and spend the winter in Arizona while his family remained in Omaha. Depressed and suffering agonizing pain despite heavy medication, he struggled to maintain his independence. An encounter with foster greyhounds led him to adopt Comet, an abandoned greyhound who had been trained to race. Comet was not only an affectionate companion; she was also protective and sensitive to her owner's increasing disability. The author began to rely on Comet to help him navigate simple tasks such as getting out of bed or opening doors, and ultimately he trained her to become a service dog who could accompany him everywhere. With the assistance of Padwa (Quick, Answer Me Before I Forget the Question: Everything You Need to Know About Turning 50, 2007, etc.), Wolf offers a wealth of fascinating detail about Comet's socialization and about the breed, who are valued for their keen intelligence, speed and agility. After several years, Wolf found an orthopedic surgeon who was able to partially reconstruct his spine, increase his mobility and reduce his pain. The author admits to becoming manic and refusing to recognize that he was still fundamentally disabled. In his obsessive drive to resume his former life, he alienated his wife, who could not accept his self-destructive behavior. Only then was he able to come to terms with his previously flawed view of manliness and independence, rebuild his marriage and treasure each day.

A heartwarming story that will hold appeal far beyond just animal lovers.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61620-045-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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