Enlightening and universally relevant, the book shows us how to forgive even when it might be impossible to forget.

THE FORGIVENESS TOUR

HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT APOLOGY

A personal and professional odyssey through the nuances of apologies.

When Manhattan journalist and writing professor Shapiro experienced betrayals from a trusted psychotherapist as well as a close female friend, she demanded answers. Devoid of atonement or any type of explanation for their behavior, both were nonchalant and arrogant, which understandably infuriated and flummoxed the author. Though Shapiro was traumatized, she was also inspired to question how others managed unresolved pain. Sharing revealing episodes of personal soul-searching, the author probes the lucrative “Forgiveness Industry,” fronted by gurus touting charities, books, and documentaries as well as agencies who grant professional amnesty to affronted clients on another’s behalf. Shapiro, who teaches at the New School, NYU, and Columbia, journalistically explores themes of forgiveness through a series of stories from a variety of sources, including family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and students—e.g., a 40-something Army wife and a trans man who faced ugly post-transition prejudice. All of these anecdotes demonstrate how certain personalities can easily pardon someone’s wrongdoing while others, as in her situation, experience spitefulness and difficulty moving on with their lives. Shapiro’s analysis is multifaceted, encompassing radically divergent opinions: religious leaders who consider clemency an emotional balm and pious obligation or a “wildly provocative Jungian astrologer” who touts grudge-holding as a protective barrier against perpetual victimhood. The author brings the same blend of wry humor, sharp wit, and knowledgeable authority that she demonstrated in some of her previous memoirs (Unhooked, Lighting Up, Five Men Who Broke My Heart), offering an intimate exploration of grudges, expectations, and remorse. Ultimately, she confesses to a series of personal atonements of her own and provides an appendix of practical solutions, leaving the decision up to readers whether personal apologies are required for true healing or whether unspoken atonement could suffice.

Enlightening and universally relevant, the book shows us how to forgive even when it might be impossible to forget.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5107-6271-8

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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