A remarkable book about a fascinating, vexing figure.

PETE ROSE

AN AMERICAN DILEMMA

A reflection on the meaning of legendary baseball player Pete Rose.

Rose is Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader, as well as the leader in games played and at-bats. He holds nearly 20 records and was one of the hardest working and most beloved players during his playing days. Yet, due to the fact that he gambled on baseball while he was a manager with his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, he is officially banned from baseball and is not enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. “Even now,” writes Sports Illustrated assistant managing editor Kennedy (56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports, 2011, etc.), “25 years into his exile, he remains a figure who stirs uncommon passion, righteousness, indignation.” Were this book just a biography of “Charlie Hustle,” it would be a fine one. But more importantly, Kennedy explores not only Rose’s life and career and his ignominious fall from glory, but also the complexities and conundrums surrounding his ineligibility and his character. Rose’s detractors and supporters alike will find evidence here to both confirm and challenge their biases. Kennedy is a graceful writer who interweaves traditional biography with myriad explorations of the puzzle that is Rose: his affinity for gambling and his waywardness with money, his up-and-down relationships with women and his children from his marriages, and his sometimes-tawdry post-baseball life. Kennedy tends toward discursive divergences that usually build a larger picture, though occasionally he is like an interesting man at a party who tells wonderful stories but interrupts himself to tell an even better tale. Nonetheless, most of the time, he weaves magic in these pages. Rose may not deserve as nuanced a biographer as Kennedy, but baseball fans certainly do.

A remarkable book about a fascinating, vexing figure.

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61893-096-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sports Illustrated Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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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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