Moving testimony to a nation’s deep wounds.

How one man’s death from police brutality exposed a city’s pain and anger.

On April 12, 2015, 25-year-old Freddie Gray was chased and searched by Baltimore policemen. When they found he had a pocketknife, they arrested him, placing him in leg irons in the back of a police van. By the time the van arrived at the station, Gray was unconscious; at the University of Maryland Medical Center, he underwent surgery for three broken vertebrae and an injured voice box. After a week in a coma, he died. Political analyst and activist Moore, head of the anti-poverty Robin Hood Foundation and a Baltimore native, closely examines the unrest that followed Gray’s death by recounting the experiences of a series of people deeply affected by the events. The result is a visceral collective portrait of a community beset by poverty and injustice. “What really happened over those five days?” Moore asks. “And what do we do next?” Among the voices that the author includes are those of a black policeman hoping “to heal the disconnect between police and the West Baltimore community he grew up in”; a woman whose brother was a victim of police brutality, desperately trying to hold the perpetrators accountable; a white public defender who has devoted her career to working with juveniles; a prominent lawyer who turned to representing plaintiffs in police brutality cases; the owner of the Orioles, stunned by the protestors’ violence, who came to see that his team needed to foster a relationship with the community; a well-regarded civic leader who organized a peaceful protest march that included Congressman Elijah Cummings and local ministers; and the manager of a beloved recreation venue that was protected from the uprisings by a group who made sure that everyone knew the business was black-owned. By focusing on a cross-section of individuals, Moore underscores his point that “our fates are profoundly intertwined.” Gray’s death, a result of the complex consequences of poverty, impels all Americans to “wrestle with the history of complicity and bias.”

Moving testimony to a nation’s deep wounds.

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51236-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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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