Self-indulgent and only occasionally interesting.



A Dutch-born woman’s memoir about how she stumbled into an unexpected career as a globe-trotting photojournalist.

Molenaar’s fascination with faraway places began when she was a child. But her early years in Rotterdam were nothing like the magical worlds that populated her daydreams. She felt alienated from her family, as though she was always “slightly in the wrong.” When World War II intervened, Germany occupied Holland, creating hardship and misery for all Dutch citizens. After the war, a traumatized Molenaar left for Switzerland. In between her first marriage and divorce, she discovered photography. It was only after she met, married and began working alongside distinguished magazine journalist Frederic Grunfeld, however, that she was able to transform her love for travel and image-making into a way of life she “had not dared to imagine since childhood.” They made the Spanish island of Mallorca their home and hobnobbed with the likes of Robert Graves, John Cheever and Anthony Burgess. In the meantime, joint assignments took them to locations all over the world, including Alaska, Afghanistan and India. But as Molenaar grew into her profession, and into her husband’s equal, the marriage collapsed, and she found herself forced to make a living to support herself and her children. The author’s career blossomed, and soon, she was going on shoots in such exotic locales as Brazil, Tanzania and Mongolia. Between adventures, she married again and moved to France, where she made acquaintances with Joseph Heller and Lawrence Durrell. She was unable to disobey the “inner summons” to adventure, and she grew apart from her husband and divorced. That Molenaar has led a challenging but privileged life is clear. Her narrative, however, is a structurally undisciplined hodgepodge of memories, anecdotes and travelogue that is more likely to irk readers than engage them.

Self-indulgent and only occasionally interesting.

Pub Date: June 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62872-410-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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 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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