An intriguing account with insights into competition and control.

THE MOST UNLIKELY CHAMPION

A woman recounts how she conquered the male-dominated world of competitive shooting in this debut memoir.

Koo does not fit the usual profile of an expert pistol shooter. Her race, gender, and age all make her something of an outlier, but this has not kept her from becoming a record-setting winner at “the NRA National Action Pistol Championship, known as the Bianchi Cup.” The Hong Kong–born, San Francisco–raised Koo did not even begin shooting until her late 40s, and so this memoir has quite a bit to cover of the champion’s life before she ever picked up a gun. She discusses her early years in China and the experience of immigrating to California, where her conservative parents continued to keep a traditional Chinese household. She describes meeting her future husband, Carlos, with whom she would raise children and start a real estate business—though both those things included significant strife and tragedy. Koo alternates between recounting a career-threatening accident in 2013 and her subsequent recovery and trials from earlier in her life: the death of one of her children in infancy, her husband’s extramarital affair, and her first firearm safety class, which she enrolled in specifically to allay her fear of guns. Throughout her meteoric rise in the world of shooting, she reaffirmed her faith in God, her family, and herself—a woman who never allowed men to determine her place in the world. With the help of debut author Pahl, Koo tells her story in accessible, precise prose that mimics her controlled persona while nevertheless displaying some affecting cracks: “I couldn’t stop looking at the photo. As I stared at it, I started to shake uncontrollably. I felt like my legs had been cut out from beneath me. Who was the woman, and what was she doing with my husband?” Readers acquainted with Koo’s shooting career will likely be especially interested in this book, but much here is familiar and universal. As an immigrant, mother, and wife committed to her family business, Koo will likely remind many readers of close relatives or themselves.

An intriguing account with insights into competition and control.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-8849-8

Page Count: 188

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: April 9, 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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