AUDREY HEPBURN

A BIOGRAPHY

A spiritless biography of one of the most inspiring of all motion picture stars. Certainly this fine actress and great beauty is a natural for biographical treatment. She was born in Brussels to a British father and Dutch mother. Her father deserted the family when Audrey was six, and Audrey and her mother found themselves trapped in Holland when the Nazis invaded. As a child, she saw the horrors of German occupation and later did some work for the Resistance. After the war, she sought work as a dancer, but her personality was so strong that she was pulled forward and made into an instant star with her first Broadway play (Gigi) and her first motion picture (Roman Holiday), for which she won an Oscar. She achieved recognition as both a wonderful performer and as one of the defining images of feminine beauty. After her leading lady days had ended, she turned to charitable activities and became a tireless worker for UNICEF. Harris (Lucy & Desi, 1991) has clearly done his research. There is much information here, some of it new, such as the revelation that Hepburn's parents were involved with Sir Oswald Mosley's preWW II fascist movement. Hepburn emerges as a truly admirable person, seemingly beloved by all who came into contact with her. Unfortunately, there is no magic in Harris's writing to match the magic in Hepburn's performances. When his prose isn't flat, it's either ungrammatical (``But who knew then that except for being heavily bombed, England would never be conquered or occupied by Nazi Germany'') or awkward (``She seemed to walk on music''). Nor does he attempt more than the most superficial analysis of Hepburn's talent or mystique. Audrey Hepburn seems destined to be remembered as one of the screen's lasting icons, and she deserves a first-rate biography. Sadly, this isn't it. (16 pages of b&w photos, not seen).

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-75800-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1994

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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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