An affecting tale showing that you can go back home again.

THE LAST SEASON

A FATHER, A SON, AND A LIFETIME OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL

A meditative memoir of a son, 60, and father, 95, bonding over college football.

As a strategist for the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign, veteran political consultant Stevens (The Big Enchilada: Campaign Adventures with the Cockeyed Optimists from Texas Who Won the Biggest Prize in Politics, 2001, etc.) felt so devastated by Romney’s loss that he had no idea what he might do next. “When was the last time I’d been really happy?” he asked himself. “What was it I really cared about in life?” Family and football, it turns out, would provide the key, allowing the man for whom the fall had become campaign season to revisit the boyhood when Saturday games with his father had been the highlights of his life. The result is an elliptical, evocative narrative that has ambitions beyond his scope, as the author’s accounts of the actual games with his spry and beloved father are just signposts in his story. It’s when he digs deeper into memory—about the civil rights clashes when he was coming of age with Ole Miss football and how his parents provided such a sterling example for racial equality—that this book about Saturdays with Dad is more than another stop-and-smell-the-roses, Tuesdays with Morrie–esque heart-tugger. Stevens explores his “complicated relationship with my Mississippi identity” and his ambivalence toward the racial privilege that allowed him to achieve his ambitions and toward those whose identity in the North was that of “ ‘professional southerners,’ those living in New York who tried to define themselves by some pretense that they came from a more genteel and cultured world.” What has remained undiminished is his love for football, for his father (and his mother, even with her Barack Obama bumper sticker), and for the time they have left together to enjoy the Ole Miss football experience that defined his boyhood.

An affecting tale showing that you can go back home again.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-35302-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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