Mazzeo chronicles a ray of hope in desperate times in this compelling biography of a brave woman who refused to give up.

IRENA'S CHILDREN

THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO SAVED 2,500 CHILDREN FROM THE WARSAW GHETTO

The remarkable history of the “female Schindler.”

The story of Irena Sendler (1910-2008), who saved more than 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis, was buried for decades by the communist administration of Poland. It finally came to light in the 1990s, and Mazzeo (The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, 2014, etc.) has combed archives and interviewed the few survivors to tell the tale. Like so many who tried to save Jews from the Nazis, Irena would only say she could have done more. When she was 7, her father, a doctor, died working in the typhoid epidemic of 1916-1917, and her mother struggled to educate her. At the University of Warsaw, she rekindled her friendship with Adam Celnikier. He was a radical Jewish lawyer and the love of her life even though both were married. She supported and protected him in hiding throughout the war. In the community internship program at the Polish Free University, Irena met Dr. Helena Radlinska, the driving force behind the resistance of Warsaw. When the Nazis invaded in 1939, resistance quickly built up, led by older men, the Jewish community, and women. That resistance is a large part of the reason Poland was subject to such brutal repression. As a social worker, Irena and her colleagues were able to manipulate paperwork to create new identities. They were also granted passes to enter and leave the Warsaw ghetto, allowing them to smuggle in medicine and false papers and eventually help set up their network to free the children. Sometimes on their own or led by local teens, the children escaped through the filth of the sewers. Irena and her small band found safe houses and orphanages where the children could ride out the war. Her careful records were written on cigarette papers so children could be reunited with surviving family after the war.

Mazzeo chronicles a ray of hope in desperate times in this compelling biography of a brave woman who refused to give up.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7850-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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