Evolutionists, creationists and even members of the Flat Earth Society will all find reason to criticize this cuckoo book....

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THE END OF DAYS

ARMAGEDDON AND PROPHECIES OF THE RETURN

After three decades devoted to theorizing about extraterrestrial origins, the author, in this concluding title in his seven-volume Earth Chronicles series, addresses the question: When will they return?

The author claims that travelers called the Anunnaki arrived on Earth long ago from a planet named Nibiru. They genetically engineered the human race; all religion and much of our culture can trace its origins back to these extraterrestrial “gods.” Sitchin theorizes that the last Anunnaki left Earth in the sixth century b.c., but he believes some of them might still be residing on Mars. Utilizing “end of days” terminology, the author stirs together numerology, prophecy and astrology in order to determine when the Anunnaki may return. He fails to explain, however, exactly what such a return might entail. The string of occurrences Sitchin deduces from ancient literature, mythology and art belie all conventional knowledge. His tapestry of theories requires that physics, archaeology, evolution, astronomy and theology must all be thrown out the window to one degree or another. His credibility is not enhanced by his use of bold type and exclamation points on virtually every page. Despite a lot of buildup, the conclusion merely presents a few possible dates and an assurance that the Anunnaki do intend to return. Sitchin’s fans will find this an interesting, though inconclusive read. As for the inevitably skeptical majority, they will take a certain amount of entertainment from wondering what each new chapter will bring: Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by a nuclear bomb? Solomon’s Temple built on top of a spaceport? Muslim minarets simulating rockets ready for launch? Wow.

Evolutionists, creationists and even members of the Flat Earth Society will all find reason to criticize this cuckoo book. That’s one accomplishment, at least.

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-123823-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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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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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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