A febrile hit job, more polemical than analytical.


A spirited critique of Mormonism as a religion and Mitt Romney as a political leader.

Debut author Erickson argues that Mitt Romney is a species of religiously directed Manchurian candidate, a brainwashed dupe slavishly beholden to the Mormon church’s elders. The author splits her analysis into a critique of Mormonism as a religion and an exposé of the church’s and Romney’s nefarious political commitments. The first part begins with a brief history of the Mormon church aimed at revealing both its sordid past and unpalatable doctrinal commitments, including the racist denigration of both blacks and Jews. The author’s principal criticism of the church is its inquisitional intolerance. It demands the utter subjugation of its members and brooks no dissent. And since Romney is utterly devoted to the Mormon faith, his election to president, she believes, is tantamount to an election of his church superiors: “Maybe not willingly my friend, but if you elect Mitt Romney as president of this nation, you will likely be following the prophet he follows because the decisions Mitt Romney will make for this country, in all likelihood, will be directly based upon the prophet and the teachings of his faith.” Erickson attacks Romney exhaustively, assessing his financial dealings, his political campaigns, his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, and the extent to which he remains faithful to professed conservative principles. She writes from the perspective of a conservative in favor of limited government and against both abortion and government-run health care. Erickson grew up within the Mormon faith, and her knowledge of its history and guiding beliefs is impressively comprehensive. Her prose, however, is breathlessly strident—she calls Romney a “hollow shell of a man”—and abounds with conspiratorial paranoia and immoderate hyperbole. Most importantly, though, her arguments are largely unconvincing. Many of the criticisms she makes of the Mormon church regarding its checkered past, theological inconsistency, doctrinal dogmatism, and institutional dysfunction could just as legitimately be made of the Catholic Church, which she seems to favor. And her argument that Romney is insufficiently pro-life seems incompatible with her fear that he’s blindly devoted to his faith. 

A febrile hit job, more polemical than analytical.

Pub Date: June 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4497-1200-6

Page Count: 316

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2018

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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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