A powerful and necessarily uncomfortable text lacking suggestions for a path forward.

I'M STILL HERE

BLACK DIGNITY IN A WORLD MADE FOR WHITENESS

The impassioned story of one woman’s journey into activism.

Brown’s book is part memoir and part jeremiad against American whiteness. She begins by describing her youth in a largely white neighborhood of Toledo. After her parents’ divorce, she went on to discover black culture, and affirm her own identity, in an African-American Cleveland neighborhood and, especially, in a black church. Through high school and then into college, Brown learned more about black history and culture and became more involved with racial reconciliation efforts. She especially saw herself as a possible bridge between black and white cultures. Most of her work has been through churches and progressive Christian organizations, but faith plays only a minor role in this book. The focus of the narrative is on the author’s recognition of—and fight against—“America’s commitment to violent, abusive, exploitative, immoral white supremacy, which seeks the absolute control of Black bodies.” Brown pulls no punches as she lambasts white culture for being, even at its most liberal, myopic and self-serving. She argues that “white fragility” and “white guilt” are ways in which whites absolve themselves of inherent racism. Discussing whites who, after her presentations on racism, confess to her their own racist opinions and actions, she points out that she cannot “offer absolution….I am not a priest for the white soul.” Throughout the book, the author writes with raw emotion and candid self-reflection. “I have become very intimate with anger,” she writes. Brown’s work will resonate with other activists of color, though it provides little direction for others. The author is clear that racism and white supremacy are here to stay and that even attempts to educate and enlighten are rarely fruitful. “I underestimated the enduring power, the lethal imagination, the desire for blood of white supremacy,” she writes. And later: “hope for me has died one thousand deaths.”

A powerful and necessarily uncomfortable text lacking suggestions for a path forward.

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6085-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Convergent/Crown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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