A dramatic, honest, moving narrative of how hard life can get and how one can still overcome seemingly insurmountable...

BECOMING MS. BURTON

FROM PRISON TO RECOVERY TO LEADING THE FIGHT FOR INCARCERATED WOMEN

How one woman finally broke away from a cycle of imprisonment and went on to help hundreds of other women re-enter normal life.

In this engrossing memoir, Burton shares the details of her painful childhood and adolescence: she was sexually molested as a young child, which her mother was aware of but turned a blind eye to; raped at 14, which led to a pregnancy and the birth of her daughter; and worked as a prostitute for money and drugs. But it was the death of her 5-year-old son that threw Burton into a spiral of despair, and she wound up in and out of jail numerous times over the course of 15 years. All those years in jail gave Burton time to question why she continued to use drugs, why she wasn't offered any counseling, like the white prisoners received, and why the judicial system was so biased against black women. When the opportunity arose to make a difference after her final incarceration, Burton embarked on a 20-plus-year campaign to provide the kind of support she knew was missing for women recently released from prison. She successfully executed a complete turnaround of her life, which she chronicles in the second half of this powerful memoir. Burton explains how and why women, especially of color, find themselves at the bottom of the barrel, and given few chances for improvement, and how she has fought to change legislation and the overall handling of prisoners in the state of California. The author speaks a hard but necessary truth, one that should be heard so all prisoners are given a fair chance to re-enter society. Through her strong will and determination, Burton has proven that former prisoners can offer real value to the community and should be given the opportunities to do so.

A dramatic, honest, moving narrative of how hard life can get and how one can still overcome seemingly insurmountable adversity to do good in the world.

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62097-212-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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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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