A gripping story of one family’s courage and resourcefulness under life-threatening conditions.

INTO THE FOREST

A HOLOCAUST STORY OF SURVIVAL, TRIUMPH, AND LOVE

How one Jewish family from a small Polish village survived the Holocaust.

In her latest book, former Foreign Policy executive editor Frankel focuses on the Rabinowitz family of Zhetel, a “very happy little Jewish town” of about 5,000 during the 1930s. Morris and Miriam Rabinowitz had a large house on the town’s main street, with Miriam’s medicine shop on the main floor. Their two daughters, Rochel and Tania, were born about a year apart in the mid-’30s. Morris, a lumber merchant, had an intimate knowledge of the nearby woodlands, information that later became critical to the family’s survival. “His job took him to the town’s edges and deeper into the Polish Christian farming community, where Morris traded not just in lumber, but in the currency of relationships,” writes the author. Toward the end of the decade, life in Zhetel changed rapidly—first with the nonaggression pact between the Nazis and Soviets, leading to Russian occupation of the eastern section of Poland, and then with the German invasion in June 1941. The Germans targeted Polish Jews, crowding them into ghettos and murdering them in “selections” based on the victims’ short-term value to the occupiers. At one point, Miriam claimed to be the mother of a young boy from a nearby town who was there without his family, a courageous act that saved the boy from certain death. Recognizing the urgent need to get away from German control, the family escaped to hide in the nearby forest, where they survived the war despite terrible privations. Frankel follows the family after liberation, when, after failing to gain entry to Israel, they ended up in the U.S. Her book, based on interviews with family members and original documents, is full of telling details about life before, during, and after the Holocaust. While the central events are harrowing, the text has a gratifying ending. A gripping story of one family’s courage and resourcefulness under life-threatening conditions.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26764-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

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PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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