For blues aficionados, Goins provides a wealth of information on one of the underacknowledged masters of the Chicago sound.

BLUES ALL DAY LONG

THE JIMMY ROGERS STORY

Biography of blues guitarist Jimmy Rogers (1924-1997), who “created a truly enduring sound that has made a direct impact on every generation that followed.”

Without his association with Muddy Waters, Rogers might be just a musical footnote, an artist whose one hit, “Walking by Myself,” enjoyed minimal commercial success. However, as Goins (Director of Jazz/Kansas State Univ.; Emotional Response to Music: Pat Metheny’s Secret Story, 2001) reiterates throughout, Muddy Waters might not have been Muddy Waters without Rogers, whose guitar was integral to perhaps the finest band in the history of Chicago blues. As much as mercurial harmonica master Little Walter or, later, piano stylist Otis Spann, Rogers was integral to the development and popularity of Muddy’s music, complementing the raw Southern sound of the frontman’s vocals and slide guitar. Of the sound that the two guitarists developed together, the author writes, their “relationship…was somewhere between two ballet dancers and two heavyweight boxers. They could sling each other around the room and never lose faith in one’s ability to catch the other. They could throw hard jabs at each other yet never catch a blow to the body.” Goins never lapses into academic impenetrability, and he demonstrates an impressive passion and ear for the music. Particularly lively are his illumination of the bustling Maxwell Street scene and his analysis of the 1970s blues revival in Austin, Texas, and along the coasts, which brought Rogers out of early musical retirement to attain a popularity beyond anything he’d experienced before—as well as financial success, including royalties from the likes of Eric Clapton recording his songs. However, the book could use some judicious cutting and editing, since it seems to include everything that anyone ever said in print about Rogers, as well as the name of every musician, club owner and tour promoter with whom he worked.

For blues aficionados, Goins provides a wealth of information on one of the underacknowledged masters of the Chicago sound.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-252-08017-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Univ. of Illinois

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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