A must-read for military members and their families that is sure to appeal to patriotic Americans of all stripes.

SACRED DUTY

A SOLDIER'S TOUR AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

An Arkansas senator and Bronze Star recipient delivers a first book full of information, history, and remarkable facts about true heroes.

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, aka the Old Guard, is the oldest active-duty regiment in the Army. “Since 1948,” writes Cotton, who served in the 3rd between combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, “the Old Guard has served at Arlington as the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president.” Any soldier seeking to join the Old Guard must meet the highest mental, physical, and moral standards in the military, and they cannot have civil or military convictions or drug, alcohol, or financial issues. Public missions include funerals at Arlington, state funerals, presidential inaugurations, and serving as sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The recruitment of sentinels is only within the Old Guard, and the training cycle is extremely difficult. It includes learning at least 20 distinct marching movements as well as a test of stamina in which one must stand ramrod still, without bending knees or wiggling toes, maintaining ceremonial composure for 75 minutes. Though some readers may think the author provides too much detail on uniforms, procedure, and training, he explains that in the Old Guard, perfection is not just a goal, it’s an absolute. Pleats and shirt tucks are measured to the inch, stray threads are burned off, and wrinkles are unheard of. Attending multiple funerals in a day, the guard is transported by van, but they’re not allowed to sit down lest they wrinkle their uniforms. As Cotton demonstrates, the uniform prep, cleaning, insignia, and badge placement are stressed continually. Among other reasons, they meet these strict guidelines because a family only gets one funeral; it must be perfect every time. “What the Old Guard does inside the gates of Arlington,” writes the author, “is a testament to the noble truths and fierce courage that have built and sustained America.”

A must-read for military members and their families that is sure to appeal to patriotic Americans of all stripes.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-286315-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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 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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