Difficult but necessary reading.



A Namibian woman’s account of how she survived being kidnapped and forced into a global human trafficking network.

When one of Tjipombo’s father’s wives accused Tjipombo’s mother of witchcraft, both were exiled to another village for one year to allow family “tensions to ease.” They stayed with her uncle, Gerson, whose lively household the author came to love. Then a business deal involving Tjipombo’s father and an associate of one of Gerson’s business contacts went sour, and Tjipombo (a pseudonym) was unexpectedly called upon to serve as the contact’s house girl for one year. The author soon discovered that the man actually wanted her for a prostitution ring that extended across southern Africa. A witch doctor subjected her to a bloody ceremony to mark her as his “daughter.” If she tried to escape, she or members of her family would die. Herded with other captive women into trucks, Tjipombo was sent to a camp where middlemen from China abused and raped her. From there, she was put on another truck that stopped in the Sudan. There, she became a servant and sexual slave for members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and visiting Sudanese government officials. An escape attempt landed her back in the hands of the traffickers who had originally captured her. The men put her on a ship bound for Dubai, where she became the live-in servant for a rich, powerful family. Her life “consisted of little beyond sleep and work,” until one family member called the Jackal forced her into an international sex slave “harem” the family used to entertain visiting officials. Tjipombo finally escaped after she stole the cellphone of a high-ranking American official who had made cellphone videos of their sexual encounter and threatened to blackmail him. In this harrowing, unsparing memoir, the author documents unimaginable brutality against women with dignity and grace and provides readers with an urgent education about the devastating scope of human trafficking in the modern world.

Difficult but necessary reading.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64160-237-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books/Chicago Review

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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 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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