Dual biography of Lucy and Desi by the author of Natalie & R.J.: A Hollywood Love Story (1988), Cary Grant: A Touch of Elegance (1987), etc. Despite his stylelessness, Harris performs a thorough job on the lives of TV's greatest comedy team, although he does not offer complete cast listings, show dates, or titles. What he does capture well is Desi's solemn patience as he explains things to Lucy: Desi's Cuban tones enliven every page he's on—but then so does Lucy's amused tolerance with Desi. The two first met in the RKO commissary when Desi was a bombshell Broadway success at 23 and Lucy at 29 was grinding out six musicals a year. Lucy grew up in a suburb of Jamestown, N.Y., where she became known as the ``Jamestown hussy'' because of her raccoon coat and flapper's galoshes. After a few ``missing years,'' about which there are dark hints, she landed a job as a Goldwyn Girl at MGM. Meanwhile, Desi grew up spoiled rotten as the son of the mayor of Santiago, Cuba. At 15, he was welcomed as a regular at a fastidious brothel. Moving to Miami, he landed a job as a guitarist at the Roney Plaza, became a featured singer with Xavier Cugat's band, then formed his own band and had his breakthrough with the conga. After he and Lucy eloped, they soon found themselves separated by film work, and his infidelities led to her filing for divorce before their fourth anniversary. They became reconciled, but Desi's gambling, girls, and booze never stopped, and life became hell on earth. The birth of Ricky, Jr., on I Love Lucy, timed to the birth of Desi, Jr., in real life, drew unbelievable ratings and had the country crazed. The final I Love Lucy brought on national mourning. Lucy's second marriage, to Gary Morton, outlasted her 19 years with Desi, with Gary calling his friend Desi his husband-in-law. Amusing, sometimes moving. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs- -not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-74709-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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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 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...


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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