Voters ready to pull the trigger one way or another probably won’t be swayed by these revelations, but they are highly...

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THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP

The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist takes aim at his longtime bête noire, “a modern P.T. Barnum selling tickets to a modern variation of the Feejee Mermaid.”

If you follow the news at all, you’ll know that a number of allegations have recently been raised against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump—e.g., he played the field outside marriage, refused to pay suppliers and workers for jobs contracted for and completed, lied about his wealth, etc. It’s due in good measure to veteran investigative reporter Johnston (The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind, 2012, etc.) that these charges have seen the light of day. Here, without undue breathlessness and certainly without any coyness, he elaborates on those newsworthy sound bites: Trump’s father was arrested at a KKK rally and later accused of profiteering from tax dollars intended to benefit World War II veterans; Trump avoided military service because of a bone spur in his foot, though which foot he cannot recall; Trump is the least generous philanthropist in his tax bracket—and, of course, we don’t know what bracket that might be given his refusal to release those records—but loudly proclaims that he gives away millions. That none of this is shocking news is because Johnston has already done significant work getting these reports out. What is more useful in this account is his connecting dots and establishing patterns, one of which is that Trump has been planning for more than 30 years to run for the presidency, only now pulling together sufficient support to do so. All of this, of course, tempts legal action; as Johnston notes, “Trump spent two years suing author Tim O’Brien and his publisher for writing that his net worth was probably not in the billions, but rather the hundreds of millions. After a court dismissed the case, Trump made it clear that he merely wanted to harass O’Brien, not necessarily win damages.”

Voters ready to pull the trigger one way or another probably won’t be swayed by these revelations, but they are highly damning indeed.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61219-632-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Melville House

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2016

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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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