LIZA

BORN A STAR

Better-than-average celebio of Liza Minnelli, by Leigh (coauthor of Zsa Zsa Gabor's zippy One Lifetime is Not Enough, 1991). Leigh works hard and avoids clichÇs but, in the end, the Liza Minnelli we see on stage or screen is the same Liza who turns up on the page. Aside from a veil over her alleged cocaine addiction (and some alleged lesbian or bisexual activities, which Leigh doesn't dig into aside from revealing the disappointment of the editors and readers of a gay magazine that interviewed Minnelli only to have her remain ``in the closet'' during the entire interview), Liza's public life is her private life. She apparently gives off fabulous vibes but is much like an imploding nova that sucks up energy and confidence from those around her. Leigh's Liza cannot bear loneliness, even for a moment. Her first 30 or more years were spent burying her legendary mother and trying to burn brightly on her own. Much of Liza's childhood was spent as mom to a suicidally nervous Judy Garland. Liza was born into the aristocracy of talent and never knew a commonplace day, with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and other titanic celebrities as her childhood party guests. She was ever the daughter of director Vincente Minnelli, and she sought substitute dads all her life. Liza made her best picture (Cabaret) too young, winning an Oscar for it, and then couldn't top herself on film—but of course became a magnificent presence and in her late 30s toured with her old houseguests Sinatra & Davis. Though Liza has no gift for marital fidelity, Leigh resists ``dirt'' and lets Liza's decades of wild partying speak for themselves via fellow partygoers. At last, Liza made the circuit of famous rehabs and A.A., and today, at 45, is sober—and brighter than ever on stage. Absorbing all the way, but remains well within its genre. (Sixteen pages of b&w photos.) (First serial to Cosmopolitan)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 1993

ISBN: 0-525-93515-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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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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