A comprehensive, sternly opinionated chronicle of the band that embodied with fabulous commercial success the sensibility of Los Angeles in the 1970s. Eliot (Walt Disney, 1993, etc.) interviewed ex-Eagles as well as many friends and business associates, and with resigned distaste these sources attest to the pile-up of personal conflicts, pharmaceutical excess, and cutthroat business shenanigans that gradually took shape beneath the band’s lilting parade of hits until, on their 1976 concept album, Hotel California, they nakedly trumpeted their bitter, burnt-out, coked-up disillusionment itself as their aesthetic driving force. The four original Eagles converged on L.A. from the Midwest and Texas in the late —60s, struggling until they came together to back up Linda Ronstadt. Eliot gives a sharp overview of how the Eagles, Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne struck gold via Asylum Records founder David Geffen. The Eagles were, Eliot contends, as much a business proposition by Geffen as a musical venture. Singer/drummer Don Henley concurs: —Money was a much saner goal than adoration . . . [I]f I—m gonna blow my brains out for five years, I want something to show for it.— Geffen, scary mogul Irving Azoff, and Henley all provide alarming insights here into how the music business operates. The band roster changed several times, but the members became progressively more popular—their greatest-hits collection is one of the two top-selling albums of all time—until melodramatic squabbles among all the members, but especially between Henley and co-leader Glenn Frey, dissolved the band in 1980. While Eliot’s a fan, his judgments on individual songs and events are often acerbic. With the Eagles now middle-aged and detoxed, their recent reunion tour, he writes, —was like watching a nineties production of Beatlemania performed by the Beatles themselves.— If you can take the pervasive atmosphere of cynical, calculating hedonism—that is, if you—re an Eagles fan—you couldn—t ask for a truer portrait. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-316-23370-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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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 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...


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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