A rare book equally likely to appeal to fans of Project Runway and students of contemporary Middle Eastern cultural history.

FASHION IS FREEDOM

A GIRL FROM TEHRAN AND HER RISE TO THE RUNWAY

Fashion designer Raassi looks back on her years growing up in Tehran and her attempts to grow a business in the United States.

In this unexpectedly wry and winning memoir, the author opens with a turning point in her life: in 1998, when she was 16, she attended a party at a private home where the girls all stripped off their hijabs and long coats to reveal miniskirts and high heels. This wasn’t the first party she’d attended where this was the practice, but it was the first one to be raided by an armed government group. Raassi ended up spending five days in jail and receiving 40 lashes as punishment for flouting dress laws. From that opening incident, she detours back into exploring the contradictions of growing up in a wealthy family in Iran in the 1980s and ’90s, playing with forbidden Barbies, cutting up her mother’s mink coat and her father’s leather chair to make clothes for them, being one of the “mean girls” in high school, and breaking as many rules as possible. Then the author leaps forward to her parents’ insistence that she move to the U.S. after high school. During this time, she went through a series of experiments in fashion and business that ultimately led to her setting up the Dar Be Dar swimwear line. The feisty Raassi is honest about the mistakes she made, the failures she went through, and the complications of making a life in fashion. Chapters about the rise and fall of her Georgetown boutique and her decidedly mixed experience sponsoring the 2010 Miss Universe pageant suggest “the unglamorous sides of the most glamorous industry in the world.”

A rare book equally likely to appeal to fans of Project Runway and students of contemporary Middle Eastern cultural history.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3518-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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