RICHARD TAYLOR

SOLDIER PRINCE OF DIXIE

From rare-book dealer Parrish, an engaging and exhaustively researched biography of an important and intriguing, though rarely studied, Confederate leader. Had he accomplished nothing in the Civil War, Richard Taylor would still have been historically noteworthy: Gifted problem-son of Zachary Taylor and brother-in-law of Jefferson Davis, he graduated from Yale in 1845 at age 19 and acquired great wealth at his father's death in 1850. As heir to the fabulous plantation of Fashion, Taylor became one of Louisiana's most prominent planters and slaveholders (and, thanks to his consequent involvement in local politics, one of the state's leading political figures). Parrish depicts Taylor as highly intelligent, cultivated, and enlightened, sensitive to the moral dilemmas of slavery and humane and paternalistic toward his many slaves. According to the author, Taylor decried slavery as a moral evil—but not evil enough, apparently, for him to manumit his own slaves. Taylor disapproved of the radical rhetoric of the secessionist ``fire-eaters,'' but, like many Southern planters, he was radicalized by John Brown's abortive raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry. Though his father was a Whig President, and he himself nurtured pro-Union sentiments, Taylor gradually allowed himself to be drawn (albeit, Parrish indicates, with great reluctance) into the secessionist fringe of the Democratic Party at the fractious 1860 Charleston convention. After Louisiana's secession (which he voted in favor of), Taylor entered Confederate service as a colonel of the Louisiana Brigade and achieved distinction as a commander under Stonewall Jackson in the legendary Valley campaign in 1862. Transferred to Louisiana to repel the Federal offensive there, he succeeded in 1864 in stopping General Banks's Red River Campaign. After the war, Taylor became a leading advocate of states' rights and finished Destruction and Reconstruction, one of the most distinguished Civil War memoirs, shortly before his death in 1879. A thorough and significant contribution to Civil War scholarship.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 1992

ISBN: 0-8078-2032-6

Page Count: 570

Publisher: Univ. of North Carolina

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more