A terrifically lucid and entertaining look at an undervalued area of Sinatra’s achievement.

SINATRA IN HOLLYWOOD

The king of the saloon singers was a top-notch actor…when he cared to be.

So argues Santopietro (Considering Doris Day, 2007, etc.), who proves an ideal guide to Ol’ Blue Eyes’ spotty career as a screen actor. Combining a fan’s ardor and enthusiasm with keen critical insight, he convincingly makes the case for Sinatra as a major acting talent while taking the famously mercurial entertainer to task for wasting his prodigious gifts on frivolous projects. In conversational prose, Santopietro covers Sinatra’s family life, romances and recording career as they relate to his picture making, demonstrating an encyclopedic knowledge of every theatrical and television film’s production details. The author analyzes each movie, often scene-by-scene, wittily explaining what works, what doesn’t and why. Clunkers like The Kissing Bandit receive the same close attention as triumphs like On the Town and The Man with the Golden Arm, the better to fully explicate the evolution of Sinatra’s craft and attitude toward the medium. Santopietro is engagingly thoughtful about the sources of the Sinatra mystique. He draws intriguing parallels between the singer’s storied insistence on “one take” and his neurotic drive to banish boredom and loneliness. The author relates Sinatra’s distinctively snappy way with a line of dialogue to his masterly phrasing of lyrics as a singer. Readers less inclined to this sort of Actors Studio musing will content themselves with irresistible gossip about Sinatra and various Hollywood legends, plus an authoritative accounts of the glory days of the MGM musicals that cemented Sinatra’s screen stardom. Film buffs will find much to savor as well. The section on The Manchurian Candidate, for example, illuminates the greatness of that strange film and of Sinatra’s performance. The Rat Pack, the Mafia, the washouts and comebacks…every aspect of the legend is intelligently addressed, but Santopietro’s interest is in Sinatra’s work. In the final analysis, that’s what fascinates.

A terrifically lucid and entertaining look at an undervalued area of Sinatra’s achievement.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36226-3

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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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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