The first full-length study of the Irish Samuel Adams—a master propagandist and organizational dervish who transformed the cause of his native land's freedom from poets' pipe dream to political reality. Jailed in 1866 for participating in the Fenian revolutionary brotherhood, Devoy (18421928) was released in 1871 and exiled for the remaining years of his sentence. Disembarking in New York, he used America as an effective beachhead from which to assault British misrule. For the next 50 years, Devoy influenced nearly every major aspect of Anglo-Irish and Irish-American relations through his work as an editor for the New York Herald, publisher of the Gaelic American, and leader of Clan na Gael, an Irish-American group that supplied the rebels with money and ammunition. In the late 1870s, he allied with Michael Davitt in championing land reform and with Charles Stewart Parnell in pushing for home rule. Golway, a New York Observer staffer and coauthor of The Irish in America (not reviewed), is as adept at detailing Devoy's daring as he is at explaining the background of Irish politics and Devoy's turf battles (Devoy could direct sharp, occasionally unfair invective at rebels like Eamon de Valera if he detected backsliding or harebrained schemes). Remarkably, 50 years after he first clipped the British lion's tail, he secretly contacted Germany during WW I, defying American neutrality, in an effort to secure arms for another uprising— thus setting in motion the events that lead to the Easter Rebellion, the catalyst for Ireland's successful revolt against John Bull. In summing up Devoy's last difficult years—the loss of hearing and sight, a bittersweet reunion with the fiancÇe he never married, and grudging acceptance of an Irish Free State that did not yet achieve full independence—Golway poignantly evokes the cost of the rebel's single-minded commitment as ``Irish America's conscience, defense, and . . . chief organizer.'' A riveting biography of one of the key figures in forging the American connection to Irish republicanism.

Pub Date: March 17, 1998

ISBN: 0-312-18118-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

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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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