Articulate and clear-eyed, Rosenberg’s memoir memorably records the struggles of a woman determined to be the agent of her...

AN AMERICAN RADICAL

POLITICAL PRISONER IN MY OWN COUNTRY

A political activist from the ’60s through the early ’80s recounts her arduous journey from the FBI’s most-wanted list through a 16-year incarceration in maximum-security prisons.

Rosenberg was radicalized during the antiwar and black-power movements, and eventually went underground in the early ’80s after the FBI indicted her in a robbery-conspiracy case that resulted in the death of several officers. While unloading a vast cache of explosives in a U-haul van to a storage place in New Jersey in 1984, she was arrested and sentenced to 58 years in federal prison. Rosenberg and her partner maintained that they “were part of an organized illegal resistance movement [and] acting out of conscience.” Subsequently, they were treated as terrorists and subjected to the most stringent lock-up conditions in maximum-security prisons across the country. High-profile female political prisoners were unusual in government facilities at the time, and the correctional institution in Tucson, Ariz., housed more than 1,000 men and four women. The women were stuck in segregation with little natural light and few visits from lawyers, and a good part of the memoir discusses the appalling conditions, vindictive officers and clueless bureaucracy. From Tucson, Rosenberg was moved to facilities in Lexington, Ky.; Washington, D.C., where she was indicted on new charges of trying to bomb the U.S. Capitol; Mariana, Fla.; and Danbury, Conn. Her period of incarceration coincided with the burgeoning crack and AIDS epidemic, and Rosenberg became a vociferous advocate and health counselor. She writes movingly of her reconciliation with her parents and last visit to her dying father, as well as relationships made with other women prisoners. While denied parole, she was eventually pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001.

Articulate and clear-eyed, Rosenberg’s memoir memorably records the struggles of a woman determined to be the agent of her own life.

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8065-3304-9

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Citadel/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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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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