A feel-good story that begs for a where-are-they-now follow-up in 10 years.

ON THESE COURTS

A MIRACLE SEASON THAT CHANGED A CITY, A ONCE-FUTURE STAR, AND A TEAM FOREVER

The story of former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway’s return to the mean streets of his youth to lead a team of disadvantaged middle schoolers to basketball glory.

Even the schmaltziest made-for-TV sports movie would be hard-pressed to squeeze in all of the clichés packed into the tale of Hardaway’s homecoming to the rough-and-tumble Memphis neighborhood of Binghampton: the local boy done good who returns to help underprivileged youth at the request of a cancer-stricken friend; the emotionally scarred, delinquent boys who turn their lives around when the star athlete becomes the father figure they never had; the rival gangs who call a truce during the season and unite to make sure the team stays out of trouble. And yet, each of those elements rings true in CNN.com writer Drash’s debut. The author leverages shared geographical and basketball roots to chronicle Hardaway’s transformation from NBA All-Star (a career unfortunately derailed by a series of injuries) to middle school basketball coach in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country. Hardaway originally took the job to help out the school’s coach, childhood friend Desmond Merriweather, when Merriweather was diagnosed with late-stage cancer, but stayed when he saw the opportunity to be a positive role model for an unruly group of boys who were growing up, as he had, with very little. The troubled but talented team quickly transformed into a state title contender, and the combined influence of Hardaway and Merriweather helped them maximize their potential both on the court and in the classroom. Despite the paint-by-numbers narrative arc, there are genuinely touching moments, and it’s always uplifting to see a wealthy superstar give more than just money to help his community.

A feel-good story that begs for a where-are-they-now follow-up in 10 years.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1021-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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