While timely, too far-fetched and erratic to maintain readers' attention.



Habib’s debut political thriller explores the nature of religious extremism, detailing the gathering threat it poses to America and its unsuspecting allies.

Purportedly based on a true story, this complex tale follows Samuel Joseph from his troubled, abuse-addled infancy in India to his prosperous adulthood in the United States. Samuel undergoes a youthful spiritual awakening, eventually converting from Islam to Christianity. His siblings’ fanatical commitment to killing non-Muslims leads to the endless, macabre abuse of Samuel, his mother and his wife. The narrative centers on a labyrinthine plot to destroy the U.S.—and much of the world—by inserting undetectable explosive devices into the breasts and buttocks of female suicide bombers as well as releasing a deadly virus through a variety of means. Threaded through this, Habib offers a quasi-journalistic account of the history of modern jihad, replete with scholarly reflections on the allegedly bellicose message of the Quran. Initially, readers may be impatient for the novel to begin, having waded through an opening prayer, a dedication, a foreword, a preface and an introduction. When it does kick off, the story leaps back and forth in time. The narrative occasionally addresses readers directly to provide commentary, entreat the U.S. government to foil the impending attack on its soil, or solicit help from readers in rescuing Samuel’s mother from her captors. The book is most effective when describing Samuel’s spiritual maturation as he discovers tolerance and love in a world darkened by contempt for difference. However, the remainder of the story is implausible and grindingly repetitive. Readers may find it difficult to stick around until the conclusion.

While timely, too far-fetched and erratic to maintain readers' attention.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1468040845

Page Count: 212

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2012

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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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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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