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A pleasure for general readers, and a blessing for students of the independent media and contemporary letters.

The country’s oldest weekly magazine, a fixture of liberal households since the Civil War, has a dirty secret, its long-time editor/publisher discloses. It loses money.

But then, writes Navasky (Naming Names, the 1982 National Book Award winner), so does National Review, and so does just about every other journal of opinion published here. Indeed, The Nation has always lost money. So why go on publishing so poor a business prospect? Navasky’s answer is a spirited defense of the independent press, one that incidentally addresses why nonprofit status is a bad thing overall. In this elegant book—a combination memoir, intellectual history, and how-to guide for would-be magazine publishers—he allows that the thrill of chasing news and potential donors alike has been quite enough to keep his heart in the game for the last quarter-century, tough as that game is. Too tough for the executives at Disney, at least, who have been threatening to shut down ABC’s Nightline as irrelevant: “If relevance is measured by the bottom line,” Navasky writes, “they are right. I was glad to be in the un-mass media.” Navasky cheerfully predicts that its audience will grow with the follies of the Bush administration: “If it’s bad for the country, it’s good for The Nation.” (He adds: “But even I would have a qualm or two if I thought that The Nation’s business future depended on an imperial America’s unilateral aggression abroad and suppression of civil liberties at home.”) When he’s not covering the practicalities of publishing—and this is worth any five textbooks on the subject—Navasky ponders the odd house he heads, famously and oddly divided, with columnists feuding among themselves (Christopher Hitchens vs. Alexander Cockburn, Christopher Hitchens vs. The Left in re Iraq, and so forth) and left stalwarts like the late Susan Sontag calling it to task for lapses in political correctness. And all the while the right, of course, brands it a bastion of Bolshevism. It’s politics as usual, in other words, lively and always surprising.

A pleasure for general readers, and a blessing for students of the independent media and contemporary letters.

Pub Date: May 4, 2005

ISBN: 0-374-29997-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2005

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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