An entertaining adventure tale worthy of republication.



Republication of the real-time maritime adventures of the bestselling crime-thriller author.

In 1973, fed up with more than a decade in advertising and yet to finish the first of his 50 novels, Woods (Unnatural Acts, 2012, etc.) decided to take time off. He moved to a remote coastal area in Ireland, “an ideal place…[with enough] peace and quiet to make it very difficult to find an excuse not to write.” Instead, he tried his hand at sailing, connecting with the local sailing club and becoming quickly hooked, despite an early misadventure with a borrowed dingy in which a rapid incoming tide almost swamped his car. Undaunted, Woods purchased a 30-foot cruising yacht designed to his own specifications. Less than two years later, he had qualified for and entered the 1976 Single-Handed Transatlantic Race. Originally published in 1977, this then-debut memoir describes the author's two-year apprenticeship in the lore of the sea, from navigation to boat design, a journey that culminated in a hair-raising six-week solo, trans-Atlantic sail. Of the 125 boats that started in 1976, 36 dropped out and five sank, and there were two deaths by drowning. The author finished 63rd, an impressive accomplishment. In addition to frightening winds and other nasty weather, Woods’ challenges included disturbed sleep, diminishing food and water, a series of structural failings and mechanical problems. Solitude did not prove to be a serious problem, although he suffered from the hallucinatory experience of hearing a nonexistent phone ring.

An entertaining adventure tale worthy of republication.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-16111-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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 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...


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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