THE HEARSTS: FATHER AND SON

Vapid, once-over-lightly reminiscences from the scion of a publishing dynasty who, at age 83, looks back on a privileged, eventful life through rose-colored spectacles. One of five sons of William Randolph Hearst, ``Bill'' (as he's generally known) recalls a bicoastal boyhood that kept him shuttling between a 31-room apartment in Manhattan and his father's California pleasure dome of San Simeon. A college dropout, the author was given a job as a beat reporter on his father's New York American. Appointed publisher in 1937 of what was then the Journal- American, he quickly became a fixture on the cafÇ-society scene. During WW II, Hearst assigned himself to Europe as a correspondent; after the war, he returned to the same old stand, marrying his third wife (who's still with him) in 1948. Following the death of Hearst, Sr., in 1951, the author became the chain's editor-in- chief. Today, he remains titular head of editorial operations and writes a column for the empire's dwindling number of newspapers, but the family firm is controlled by professional managers. With scarcely a word here about his brothers (three of whom are now dead), Hearst offers often inane assessments of family members, friends, and acquaintances (on his father: ``He was in his own way like Pearl Buck who loved the land and the peasants of China''). Nor does Hearst provide keen insights on either the legendary journalists (Bob Considine, Dorothy Kilgallen, Westbrook Pegler, Walter Winchell) or many notables (Winston Churchill, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, George Patton, George Bernard Shaw, etc.) with whom he came in contact. Hearst has a few harsh words for de Gaulle, Nehru, Richard Berlin (a corporate executive he accuses of working against the founder's legacy), and the producers of Citizen Kane. Otherwise, even in the case of niece Patty's abduction, he is the soul of circumspect discretion. An insider's memoir that reads like the self-censored testimonial of a loyal hack. The wispy text has over 100 photographs and other illustrations, including cartoons (some seen).

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 1991

ISBN: 1-879373-04-1

Page Count: 450

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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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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