LOVE UNLIMITED

INSIGHTS ON LIFE AND LOVE

White, the platinum-selling R&B singer and internationally renowned “guru of love,” brings his satiny style to this rags-to-riches autobiography. Love Unlimited, coauthored by music biographer Eliot (To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles, 1998, etc.), is not just another celebrity memoir. Throughout, White sprinkles bits of his wisdom on love (“If you love someone you must not be afraid to tell them, to show them, to lead them to your heart”) and how to be successful with the opposite sex. Much of his “advice,” written as introductions to each chapter, borders on being cheesy. But the way these digressions stay true to White’s sensitive yet macho musical persona saves them from falling over the edge. In fact, the highest compliment that can be paid to the writing approach here is that often you can almost hear White’s deep voice reading the words. However, the core of the narrative is White’s compelling life story. He talks openly about growing up in South Central Los Angeles—being raised almost exclusively by his mother (he and his father reconciled later in life)—his and his brother Darryl’s early “gang-banging” days, and how music saved him from the fate that would one day tragically befall Darryl. On occasion, such as when White writes of how hearing Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” transformed him while he was in jail, the tale slips into melodrama. Yet White’s insights on music, particularly how he works in the studio, the artists who influenced him, and the importance he places on it (he refers constantly to “Lady Music” as the one true love of his life), are strong compensation for the sporadic forays into soap opera—ish writing. Love Unlimited is not great literature, but it never intended to be. It is, like its author, honest and from the heart. And, more than anything, it is oh-so-smooth.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7679-0364-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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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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