A singularly eloquent account of unusual visitations.




A journalist recounts stories involving the afterlife.

“Someday,” writes Hardesty in his nonfiction debut, “it will be our turn to experience the most mysterious, the most feared and the least understood aspect of human existence”—death itself. Hardesty, a sports journalist for 30 years, writes that he was fond of talking about life, death, and the meaning of it all with his father. When his dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack, Hardesty might have thought those conversations were over. But on the day that he made the funeral arrangements, he says, he began to receive what he calls “visitations” from his father’s ghost; these eventually led to his father giving him a tour of Heaven in his dreams, he says. “While my sleeping body lay peacefully in bed in Stow, Ohio, my soul traveled to Heaven with my dad,” Hardesty writes. “Of this I am sure.” The bulk of the book consists of the author’s descriptions of these and other encounters that he had with the spirits of deceased friends and family members. Thanks to his clear, powerful prose, these stories are uniformly engaging and even moving. He creates surprising emotional moments, as when he realizes how working in the corporate environment of a large tire company took a toll on his father, who started his career as a teacher. Hardesty admits early on that he can’t prove that these visitations happened, and that “naysayers and non-believers will…insist my Christian bent has steered my conscious mind in a biased direction”; he also makes a straw-man argument about scientists “dismissing out of hand the possibility of a Creator simply because they don’t believe in one.” Even so, the author’s colorful evocations of ghostly encounters in his lifetime remain engaging, including vivid moments involving beloved pets.

A singularly eloquent account of unusual visitations.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5320-6483-8

Page Count: 230

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2019

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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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