MEMOIRS OF A PET THERAPIST

An uninspired autobiography from animal psychologist/behaviorist/communicator Eckstein (Understanding Your Pet, 1986, etc.), whose destiny was sealed by a rat. As a tyke in suburban Long Island, N.Y., Eckstein befriended a rat; his folks, marvel of marvels, allowed him to keep it. Eckstein had found his calling: “I believe I was put here to help bridge the gap between people and animals.” He enjoyed, he believes, a telepathy allowing him to “talk” with animals, to read their “parapsychology and body language.” From there, it wasn’t long before he and his new wife ran their first advertisement in a local paper——We’ll Teach Your Dog Yiddish for $15”—and started to put into practice their particular brand of animal training, one that encourages getting down on all fours and communing with the pet, ladling on the hugs and kisses, treating the creatures with respect and dignity and the love accorded any family member. But technique is not the thrust of this book, which is a pity. Rather, Eckstein concentrates on his rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, his numerous guest appearances on David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, and the Mickey Mouse Club, his radio show and personalized brand of pet products. He clearly wants his readers to be impressed by all this, but he affects an aloofness that is blazingly insincere. Amid the mostly underwhelming personal details (although the loss of his first wife is a powerful episode), Eckstein does offer up some anecdotal material—the dog taught to gamble for high stakes, the mongoose that left one of Eckstein’s fingers hanging by a thread, his days as a peace officer with a humane group—that will give readers a taste of what this book might have had to offer. Only dyed-in-the-wool Eckstein fanatics will find any reason to plow through this starstruck memoir. (b&w photos)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-449-91123-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1998

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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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