A handy primer on a troublesome Trump in-law, even setting its gossipy parts aside.

KUSHNER, INC.

GREED. AMBITION. CORRUPTION. THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF JARED KUSHNER AND IVANKA TRUMP

A dishy, skeptical portrait of Jared Kushner, the naive, overleveraged, and conflict-mired developer’s son who has Donald Trump’s ear.

Intermittently, anyway. A running theme of investigative reporter Ward’s (The Liar's Ball: The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World's Toughest Tycoons, 2014, etc.) book is that the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka is so clumsily meddling that the president keeps him at arm’s length. “Get rid of my kids, get them back to New York,” Trump reportedly said of “Javanka” six months into his administration, after their presence became like sticky tar in the West Wing. How did Kushner, with no political or foreign policy experience, become the White House’s point person on corporate innovation and peace in the Middle East? Thereon hangs a tail of greed, incompetence, desperation, and felonious behavior. Jared’s father, Charlie, was a mercurial New Jersey developer who wasn’t above tax fraud and blackmail to get ahead. (He was sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2005.) Jared was key to restoring the family’s good name, which entailed a role in the family real estate business, though he “was hardly ever in the office”; a job as publisher of the New York Observer, though journalism baffled him; and his marrying Ivanka, another scion of a developer with a dodgy history. When Jared doesn’t seem out of his depth, he seems corrupt; much of Ward’s story turns on his disreputable dealings with Saudi and Qatari leaders, perhaps pursued in hopes of covering the $1.2 billion mortgage on a Manhattan Kushner property. Many details here have been previously reported, and the author’s efforts to elevate the book above a clip job rest mainly on a raft of juicy quotes delivered by anonymous sources. (“Jared is as sinister as Donald Trump,” intones a “business associate.”) As a portrait of Jared’s character, the book’s fiendish aura is hard to trust, but given the factual record, it’s not out of bounds.

A handy primer on a troublesome Trump in-law, even setting its gossipy parts aside.

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-18594-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 25, 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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