HOWARD HAWKS

THE GREY FOX OF HOLLYWOOD

A pleasingly thorough, if not critically groundbreaking, retrospective of the works and life of Hollywood's most versatile (and, to some cineasts, best) director. Hawks was born into a successful midwestern mercantile family. Detailing the level and range of their business successes, film critic McCarthy (King of the B's, 1975) suggests how the confidence bred in Hawks by his family's position strengthened his determination when he came to Hollywood: He wanted to work in a number of different genres, and he wanted to remain independent of the big studios. Despite the odds, he did. McCarthy focuses with great and admirable detail on Hawks's films. His life was rowdy and colorful (he was a womanizer and a gambler), and McCarthy communicates the essentials without ever losing focus on the director's artistry. Especially fascinating is the chapter on Red River, a blend of the requisite quotes on the previously untapped acting ability of John Wayne (e.g., Ford's ``I didn't know the sonofabitch could act!''), tales of sparring between Wayne and costar Montgomery Clift and Hawks's dissatisfaction with Joanne Dru, a concise analysis of the movie's importance to Hawks's artistic freedom, and not too much about the film's already much- discussed homoerotic intonations. Highlights from other chapters include fresh discussions of overlapping dialogue in the romantic comedies, recaps of the sometimes surprising public response to his films (too-cynical Twentieth Century was a box office dud), and end-of-chapter roundups of critical views of each film, notable for including not only reviews of the time but the opinions of film historians like Jeanine Basinger and little-known critics like Jean-Pierre Coursodon. Though the most enjoyable book on Hawks remains Joseph McBride's Hawks on Hawks, this is an essential complement to it and to studies by Wood, Wollen, and others. It portrays in wide-screen format a life until now presented only in sketches. (16 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8021-1598-5

Page Count: 721

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997

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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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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