HOW YOU PLAYED THE GAME

THE LIFE OF GRANTLAND RICE

A portrait of a true original who pioneered modern sports journalism, though he may be best remembered for his doggerel. Fresh out of Vanderbilt in 1901, native Tennessean Rice took a job as a reporter for the Nashville Daily News. Harper (Purdue Univ.) zestfully recreates the backdrop for Rice’s first piece—a 300-word story on a Southern League baseball game—and includes the quaint fact that he brought his typewriter with him. That was the beginning of a career that spanned 53 years and produced 67 million words, including 22,000 columns and 14 books. Rice wrote about, and often became friends with, the greatest names in sport: heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey; Bill Tilden, the preeminent tennis star of the 1920s; Babe Ruth; “The Galloping Ghost,” Red Grange; the great woman athlete Babe Didrickson; and Ty Cobb, the baseball legend whom Rice took credit for discovering. He also numbered among his friends and drinking buddies fellow writers Ring Lardner and Don Marquis and President Warren G. Herding. Harper includes a lot of information and has apparently exhausted the archives in writing of Rice’s career and friendships; it may seem too much for those only glancingly familiar with his importance. But he had considerable clout in his day and his megaselling autobiography, The Tumult and the Shouting, remains an important, if dated, contribution to sports history. Unfortunately, Harper also takes Rice’s poetry a bit too seriously (“But now the fast years hurry by . . . / Like meteors against the sky”). Though he did write the most memorable—and perhaps best—lead in sports history when he immortalized the 1924 Notre Dame backfield: “Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again.” Harper’s style never quite gets to the inner man, but it almost doesn’t matter. His talent lies in sorting out his extensive research. (38 photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8262-1204-2

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Univ. of Missouri

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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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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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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