Inspiring and informative. (16 pp. b&w photos, not seen)



Courageous, honest, painful, yearning, and occasionally even funny, the unexpurgated diaries and journals of poet and novelist Plath show a woman struggling to develop her talent against the social constraints of her day.

Don’t look for fresh scandal here; the few scandalous moments were reported earlier this year with the publication of the British edition, and (as most Plath readers know) the journals preceding her suicide were destroyed. Look instead for the slow, day-by-day maturing of a romantic, somewhat silly girl into a sensitive, hard-working, valiant woman, who coped frequently with bouts of depression, bemoaned that she was “doomed” to be a woman, and battled the “shoulds” and “musts” that were the heritage of her era and her gender. Edited by Kukil, the Smith College curator responsible for the Sylvia Plath Collection, this edition begins as Plath is about to enter Smith in 1950 and continues to the end of 1959. There are no entries for her stay in a psychiatric institution, novelized in The Bell Jar, or for her senior year at Smith. There are a few fragments as late as 1962, describing the birth of her second child at home. These so-called fragments, gathered in 15 appendices, contain some lengthy notes of trips, a hospital stay, drawings, and vignettes of neighbors and friends. Among the new material is the occasionally tedious diary of a year teaching at her alma mater (including some acid comments about colleagues), plus notes on her 1959 sessions with a therapist (where she describes herself as “thrilled” to be given permission “to hate one’s mother”). Plath loved cooking and clothes, and there are details of meals and her wardrobe (as well as romances and sexual encounters) throughout, along with avowals of her love and admiration for her husband, Ted Hughes. Extensive notes identify the people mentioned in the journals.

Inspiring and informative. (16 pp. b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-72025-4

Page Count: 752

Publisher: Anchor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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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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