A rollicking piece of gonzo journalism by a novelist whose first book, Stark Raving Elvis (1984), was a fictional take on the same subject. Gamely accepting a challenge from his editor, the 52-year-old Henderson set about making himself into a plausible Elvis impersonator: He acquired a brass-studded jumpsuit, wig, and karaoke tapes; scoped out other working Elvises; practiced the songs and the moves. A musician friend let him try out a mini Elvis set in the middle of an outdoor concert, then he entered a contest in New Hampshire (he came in last) and performed in an Elvis showcase in Jacksonville, Fla., in preparation for the grand prix of the mock-Elvis circuit, Memphis's annual Images of Elvis competition. Henderson's project actually required two visits to Memphis: On his preliminary visit to ``the holy city,'' an old pal with the immortal name of Fetzer Mills showed Henderson the highlights, including Sun Studios, Graceland, and an Elvis shrine outside of town called Graceland Too, an antebellum house crammed full of Elvis memorabilia and open 24 hours. (Fetzer, who sings rockabilly, bounces between jobs, and tries to market fat brown ``Elvis Buddha'' figurines to the local souvenir shops, is one of the best literary characters in some time, fiction or nonfiction.) Henderson captures without fuss or condescension the gut-level fandom that makes people, including himself, want to impersonate Elvis, and he is dead-on about the cultural divide, largely along class lines, that separates Elvis fans from those who have never really gotten it. (Fetzer offers another theme for the book: ``It's the generation war between the young Elvises and the mutants.'') But Henderson's great achievement is to convey, in elegantly droll prose, what it's like to imagine being a great performer—``the Elvis equivalent of flying dreams''—in the face of real-world evidence to the contrary. A jolly, sparkling trip through Elvis country. (photos, not seen) (For another look at Elvis impersonators, see Leslie Rubinkowski, Impersonating Elvis, p. 858.)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-57297-255-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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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 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...


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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