ONE RIVER MORE

These pieces glow like a well-tended smudge fire, fending off the banality of what has come to pass as fishing stories—the pompous pretensions of the competitive jet-set angler—from Wetherell (North of Now, 1997, etc.). Wetherell is not a prolific writer on fly-fishing, though he is one of the best. He is the kind of guy who stops and smells the coffee while astream: Intuition tells him that knowing “something of the landscape, terrain, history, and culture of the region through which your river flows” is infinitely more important than casting talent. It is elusive, that feel for a place, but attentiveness to it is the only game in town for Wetherell. Some of the best accounts in this book are the tours on which he takes readers to various locales, setting the rivers in their context as he tries to learn the quirks and portents of the water. He shares the joys of discovering a river new to him, the upper Connecticut, where the wild trout announce that “life can be ironic and bitter and cruel, and it is only moments and places like these that redeem it.” He takes trips to Maine fishing camps, forgotten outposts now vulnerable as their very rareness and isolation act as enticements. He also visits Vermont fishing clubs that seek to maintain a level of authenticity. Wetherell is enjoyable as the curmudgeon (fuming when he finds a parvenu fishing one of his secret holes—the freebooter is talking on a cell phone too—he wants to “slink back to the 1940s where I belong”), whether complaining about the commercialization of the sport, ripping into “the contemporary fascist style in sportswear,” or detailing the importance of secrecy when it comes to giving out tips. Wetherell doesn’t claim an ability to untie every knot a river throws his way, and there are many. It is a humility that becomes him.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-55821-698-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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