WENDY’S GOT THE HEAT

Tiresome, simple-minded autobiography from the New York radio personality.

Reared in middle-class Wayside, New Jersey, Williams knew from childhood that radio was her destiny. While a freshman at Northeastern, she approached the campus radio station and was soon reading the news on air. An internship at Boston’s number-one radio station led to a job offer in St. Croix. After only eight months on the island, Williams broke into the Washington, D.C., AM market. As her career was taking off, however, she developed a lengthy cocaine addiction. Despite the drugs and involvements with less-than-stellar men, Williams continued to achieve, eventually making it into the FM hip-hop market in New York City. She married, went through a messy divorce, and then met future husband Kevin, also involved in the business. They struggled to have a child, but right after the birth of their son, Williams discovered that Kevin was cheating on her. A quick trip to a private detective and the wronged wife realized that “ultimately speaking,” she won. Following this revelation is a transcript of a conversation with her husband describing the affair and its resolution, and the whole thing wraps up with author’s relationship rules and career advice—all of it embarrassingly simplistic. Instead of juicy insider gossip, Williams focuses strictly on herself. (She includes a brief mention of Salt N Pepa—but only because they invited her to replace their deejay, who was leaving to get married.) Despite her advice to readers that “there is no excuse for not being able to speak well,” Williams (or her coauthor) has chosen to write her narrative in the most casual of street slang. On competition from other deejays: “Bitches and niggas every day are practicing to do my shit.” On loyalty: “Don’t insist on it and then be a shady motherfucker.”

No bling-bling, no flava.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7434-7021-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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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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