Stories of creation and destruction told in an informed and compassionate voice.

THE MOST SPECTACULAR RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD

THE TWIN TOWERS, WINDOWS ON THE WORLD, AND THE REBIRTH OF NEW YORK

A detailed, inspiring, and horrifying account of the restaurant that sat atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Former Premiere senior editor Roston (I Lost It at the Video Store: A Filmmakers' Oral History of a Vanished Era, 2015) returns with a rich, complex account of Windows on the World, a story the author begins by discussing the many immigrants who worked there—later, he includes one of Donald Trump’s many clueless comments about 9/11. However, politics is much in the background; in the foreground are the many stories of the founders of the restaurant, the local politics (e.g., dealing with the Port Authority, the organization that controlled the site), key workers in the restaurant, the amenities, and the menus. He also chronicles the fundamental changes that occurred after the Feb. 26, 1993, truck-bomb episode. Informed by more than 125 interviews, the text is most impressive for its accounts of the human relationships involved, both the friendships and the fiery competitions among some of the managers. Emerging above all is Joe Baum, the restaurateur, who, writes Roston, “could electrify or freeze a room, depending on his mood.” Baum and his colleagues faced significant challenges in the space. For example, they were not allowed to use natural gas and had to use electricity (which most all disdained) and a charcoal pit, and they were dealing with a rough economy in the mid-1970s. Eventually, however, the restaurant grossed enormous sums and became a New York City institution. Roston concludes with some very painful chapters about 9/11: the day before, the day of, the days after. All who were in the restaurant died that day; there was no escape from the floors above the impact. As the author grimly reminds us, many on the doomed upper floors jumped, preferring that to incineration.

Stories of creation and destruction told in an informed and compassionate voice.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3799-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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