Authoritative and thorough fare for royal watchers.

PRINCE PHILIP REVEALED

The longtime editor of Majesty magazine presents a refreshingly nonhagiographic biography of Prince Philip (b. 1921).

In her latest book on the royal family, Seward, a leading expert on the subject, paints a picture of a complex figure: a man of intelligence and energy with a wide array of achievements who has also been a bad father and a difficult, cantankerous boor. Born a prince in Greece, Philip's links to British, Danish, German, and Russian royal bloodlines were so impeccable that the fact that he came into his marriage with two suitcases of possessions to his name—plus a disgraced father, a schizophrenic mother, and four sisters married to Germans—was no obstacle. Third cousins, Elizabeth and Philip met when they were very young; the princess was utterly smitten at age 13. Philip's way with the ladies is well known—Daphne du Maurier is just one of many alleged lovers—but Seward downplays that element of his life. "What remains,” she writes, “is a combination of speculation, innuendo, and pure invention.” Ever the sportsman, Philip is "a very good cricketer, a world-class polo player, a race-winning yachtsman, and a world-champion carriage driver, and…has flown thousands of hours in many types of aircraft." He's also a passionate conservationist, a talented interior decorator, and co-author of a philosophy book that explores such questions as "What are we doing here? What is the point of existence?” Seward's all-seeing gaze follows the man into his rural retirement, by which time "the divorces of three out of four of his children, the divorce of his first grandson, and the problems with his grandson Prince Harry and, more poignantly, his own son Prince Andrew make a depressing appraisal." In 2019, at age 97, he was involved in a car accident that injured civilians, and he gave up his keys. Thereafter, he "pounced on the idea of resurrecting the late Queen Mother’s golf buggy." We leave him with his memories, tooling around the farm.

Authoritative and thorough fare for royal watchers.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982129-75-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

THE DEFENSE LAWYER

THE BARRY SLOTNICK STORY

The Patterson publishing machine clanks its way into the nonfiction aisles in this lumbering courtroom drama.

Barry Slotnick made a considerable fortune and reputation as a defense attorney who had a long list of controversial clients, including mob boss John Gotti and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. An “urbane lawyer known for his twenty-five-hundred-dollar Fioravanti suits, he was not unacquainted with violence,” write Patterson and Wallace. One of his early cases, indeed, involved a group of Jewish Defense League members who allegedly blew up a Broadway producer’s office, killing a woman who worked there. Slotnick’s defense was a standard confuse-the-jury ploy, but it worked. He put similar tactics to work in his defense of Bernhard Goetz, the “subway shooter” whose trial made international news. The authors open after that trial had concluded in yet another Slotnick win, and with a sensational incident: He was attacked by a masked man who beat him with a baseball bat. The evidence is sketchy, but it seems to place the attack in the hands of organized crime—perhaps even Gotti himself. No matter: Slotnick, “who saw himself as the foe of the all-powerful government” and “liberty’s last champion,” was soon back to representing clients including Radovan Karadžić, the murderous Bosnian Serb who was eventually imprisoned for having committed genocide; Dewi Sukarno, the widow of Indonesia’s similarly bloodstained president, “arrested for slashing the face of a fellow socialite with a broken champagne glass at a party in Aspen”; and Melania Trump, who had chosen Slotnick “to handle her prenup.” In the hands of a John Grisham, the story might have come to life, but while Patterson does a serviceable if cliché-ridden job of recounting Slotnick’s career, he fails to give readers much reason to admire the man.

For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49437-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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