Friendly talks with exceptional individuals.



Influential Americans talk about the nation’s past and future.

Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chair of a private equity firm and an award-winning philanthropist who sits on the board of many arts, medical, educational, and historical associations (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Council on Foreign Relations, the National Gallery of Art, and the Brookings Institution), follows a volume of conversations with noted historians with a similar collection featuring prominent intellectuals and cultural figures, including Walter Isaacson, Jill Lepore, David McCullough, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Philip Deloria; sports figures Billie Jean King and Cal Ripken; filmmaker Ken Burns; musician Wynton Marsalis; and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. These conversations—warm, engaging, and informative—help Rubenstein point up America’s particular qualities (“America’s Thirteen Key Genes”) that “have made the whole American Experiment work” even though, facing significant challenges, the country has fallen short. Among these genes are democracy itself, voting, equality (which, he admits, is still aspirational), freedom of speech, rule of law, separation of powers, peaceful transfer of power, capitalism and entrepreneurship, immigration, diversity, the enduring American dream, and a culture in which individuals must be allowed “to pursue their talents and ambitions, largely unfettered by central control or government interference, with merit and skill prevailing to the greatest extent possible.” When Rubenstein asked acclaimed actor Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican immigrant, to define her legacy, she responded, “I would like people to think of me only in one way: she never gave up. Perseverance.” Likewise, according to Sotomayor, “People only follow those they think are passionate. So you have to possess passion and, second, commitment driven by dedication and hard work. You do not get anywhere unless you work hard.” Rubenstein offers a largely uncritical, celebratory view of America, as did most respondents to a 2020 Harris Poll (included as an appendix) that the author solicited.

Friendly talks with exceptional individuals.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982165-73-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.


Longtime sports journalist Posnanski takes on a project fraught with the possibilities of controversy: ranking the 100 best baseball players of all time.

It would steal the author’s thunder to reveal his No. 1. However, writing about that player, Posnanski notes, “the greatest baseball player is the one who lifts you higher and makes you feel exactly like you did when you fell in love with this crazy game in the first place.” Working backward, his last-but-not-least place is occupied by Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, whose valiant hitting rivaled Pete Rose’s, mostly a base at a time. As for Rose, who comes in at No. 60, Posnanski writes, “here’s something people don’t often say about the young Pete Rose, but it’s true: The guy was breathtakingly fast.” Thus, in his first pro season, Rose stole 30 bases and hit 30 triples. That he was somewhat of a lout is noted but exaggerated. Posnanski skillfully weaves statistics into the narrative without spilling into geekdom, and he searches baseball history for his candidate pool while combing the records for just the right datum or quote: No. 10 Satchel Paige on No. 15 Josh Gibson: “You look for his weakness, and while you’re looking for it he’s liable to hit 45 home runs.” Several themes emerge, one being racial injustice. As Posnanski notes of “the greatest Negro Leagues players....people tend to talk about them as if there is some doubt about their greatness.” There’s not, as No. 94, Roy Campanella, among many others, illustrates. He was Sicilian, yes, but also Black, then reason enough to banish him to the minors until finally calling him up in 1948. Another significant theme is the importance of fathers in shaping players, from Mickey Mantle to Cal Ripken and even Rose. Posnanski’s account of how the Cy Young Award came about is alone worth the price of admission.

Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982180-58-4

Page Count: 880

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: yesterday

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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