A page-turning tale from the 1960s about politics and sports and two proud, extraordinary men whose legacies endure.

BLOOD BROTHERS

THE FATAL FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN MUHAMMAD ALI AND MALCOLM X

How Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and then an enemy of his mentor and friend Malcolm X.

These two titanic lives intersected for less than two years, with huge consequences for each man. Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam’s most visible minister and spokesman, confirmed the young Clay’s deep suspicions about the white man and wooed him for the Nation. Malcolm’s incendiary rhetoric astonished Clay, who believed God protected him. How else could Malcolm be so bold and remain alive? In the run-up to Clay’s historic upset of champion Sonny Liston, Malcolm filled the young boxer with confidence, privately advised him, supplied him with a business adviser, and shared many meals and moments of intimate family time. Malcolm loved Clay and quickly understood his potential cultural impact and the glittering youth’s value as a propaganda tool for the sclerotic Nation. When Clay denounced his “slave name” and was anointed as Muhammad Ali, Malcolm understood he’d lost an intense power struggle with the Nation’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, and that it was only a matter of time before he’d be killed. Roberts (History/Purdue Univ.; A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game that Rallied a Nation at War, 2011, etc.) and Smith (American History/Georgia Tech; The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty that Changed College Basketball, 2013, etc.) minutely examine the construction and tortured dissolution of this friendship, highlighting the influence of their fathers on their sensitive sons and the varying masks they adopted to navigate their worlds of prizefighting and politics. Backdropping the authors’ main tale are incisive looks at Ali’s showmanship, his almost single-handed resurrection of boxing, and the befuddlement of sportswriters confronted with his conversion. They sharply detail Malcolm’s growing disillusionment with Elijah, his heartbreak at the loss of Ali’s allegiance, and the ugly dynamic within the Nation that left the defiant minister murdered.

A page-turning tale from the 1960s about politics and sports and two proud, extraordinary men whose legacies endure.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-465-07970-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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