A solid image of what a mayor's job entails and of the kind of person who can do it.

MAYOR FOR A NEW AMERICA

Boston's former five-term mayor opens up about his hopes for the country, service to his city and a life well lived.

Boston's first Italian-American mayor, ironically known as “mumbles” and renowned for putting his foot in his mouth whenever he spoke, Menino successfully led the reorganization and improvement of the city's school system, as well as its police and fire departments. The author boasts that he was known as “the peoples' Mayor” both because he represented them well and had also met half of them as he walked the streets of the city's neighborhoods. With the assistance of NPR’s On Point news analyst Beatty (The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began, 2012, etc.), Menino highlights his 80 percent approval rating when he left office in January 2014, the month after the marathon bombing. That incident focused attention on the different powers of federal, state and local governments and showed Menino successfully securing cooperation from federal agencies to release the key video footage needed to hunt down the perpetrators. His continuing approach to economic inequality, “the greatest threat to social hope in America,” involves similar cooperative principles. As he notes, “cities can recharge their own economies,” but what can cities do about inequality? Menino's hopes include a federal “second New Deal for the information age.” When he began his term, the 911 emergency response system had transformed policing, and he helped bring back foot patrols in neighborhoods. He also changed the outdated fire department work rules, which still presumed that fighting fires was the department's only duty. The author relates how he brought investment to the city—e.g., the new high-tech district around Boston's formerly decrepit harbor area.

A solid image of what a mayor's job entails and of the kind of person who can do it.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0544302495

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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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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