Disturbing and hard to put down.



A captivating memoir about a man’s life of drug addiction and homelessness.

With the assistance of veteran co-author Witter (co-author: Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, 2011, etc.), Williams tells the story of how he reached his childhood dream of becoming a radio voice and subsequently lost it through his addiction to crack. The author’s obsession with becoming a radio voice started at age 10 when his mother bought him a radio. He idolized Hank Spann and learned the voice-inflection techniques from the on-air personalities of the time. Williams knew he had the gift of a “golden voice” from childhood, but he enlisted in the Army after graduation. When he was dishonorably discharged for black-marketing electronic equipment, he found a job as a DJ at a radio station in Chadbourn, N.C. He later became a radio personality and town celebrity in Columbus, Ohio, until he became addicted to crack and quit his job to spend all day smoking. The rest of the memoir follows his life as an addict, homeless person and absentee father. The grimy details of crack houses and harsh aspects of homeless life add color to the story, as do the pages written in the voice of his girlfriend Kathy. The writing style is fast-paced and easy to follow despite the whirlwind of events, and Williams does not shy away from self-criticism. Religion becomes a main theme toward the end of the book, as the author claims it was God who ultimately led to his freedom and sobriety. The story ends just before his rise to fame and does not explore his life after he became a national sensation.

Disturbing and hard to put down.

Pub Date: May 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-592-40714-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gotham Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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 19, 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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