An unrevealing and inessential showbiz memoir.

An Emmy Award–winning actor recounts his career and how he “went ‘ass backwards’ into just about everything—and what a lucky guy I’ve been.”

Daniels, a character actor best known for his roles on the TV series St. Elsewhere, Knight Rider, and Boy Meets World, looks back on his career in excruciating detail. Throughout the book, the author delivers mild, occasionally amusing backstage anecdotes, the minutiae of decades-past business and political negotiations—Daniels served briefly as the president of the Screen Actors Guild—and biographical data of little interest to anyone but the author’s family in an unwavering, monotonous, on-the-verge-of-droll voice that evokes nothing but a prim self-regard. Readers looking for salacious showbiz dirt will be disappointed: Daniels remembers Jerome Robbins’ brusque directorial style (Daniels was active on Broadway) and Jason Robards Jr.’s habit of disappearing from set to drink—both observations are very old news—and that’s about it. Daniels provided the voice for the talking car in the ludicrous 1980s program Knight Rider, but he recorded his parts separately and barely met notorious co-star David Hasselhoff. The author discusses the trials of being raised by a relentless stage mother and confesses to a drinking-problem period, but he allows only that it further soured his already prickly demeanor, which feels less than revelatory. Compact, with a regal bearing and a Brahmin accent, the Brooklyn native typically played supercilious establishment types, such as St. Elsewhere’s arrogant surgeon Dr. Mark Craig and Boy Meets World’s stern academic mentor George Feeny, and his prickly, acerbic élan added memorable flavor to such classic films as The Graduate and Two for the Road. Sadly, in book form, Daniels fails to similarly engage or amuse.

An unrevealing and inessential showbiz memoir.

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1612348520

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Potomac Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017


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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