A scholarly investigation of printing’s early cultural history in England. In 1979 Elizabeth Eisenstein published a massively influential book entitled The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Books, she said, enabled a stable and fixed culture of learning that uniquely facilitated the rise of scientific knowledge-making. Now Johns (Sociology/Univ. of Calif., San Diego) aims to revise her findings in his own learned (if exaggeratedly contentious) study of books and publishing in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. In contrast to Eisenstein, he argues that a multiplicity of competing and idiosyncratic cultures of print emerged during that era and that the conditions of knowledge were far from uniform. While he concedes it to be true that printed books stabilized texts and led to a degree of fixity in available knowledge, Johns proposes that a variety of cultural contingencies undermined what in retrospect has seemed to be the objectivity of early modern scientific thought. Not least among these contingencies were the rampant and labyrinthine practices of book piracy, a circumstance that undermined the authority and authenticity of print. Johns also suggests that different printers and booksellers developed different models of accrediting and appraising the trustworthiness of books. Much is made of the lively rivalries among the various factions, and the fates of various scientific books and writers are explored in copious detail, including those of Sir Isaac Newton, Tycho Brahe, and others. It is Johns’s overall strategy to emphasize the cultural and social factors that shaped the realm of the printed word, and in particular to underline the role that the mobile concept of “trust” (as opposed to verifiable fact) played in defining the culture of print that has come down to us. Relying on detailed knowledge of original texts and a magisterial view of the enormous secondary literature, Johns has written a fine-grained study with considerable force of argument. (125 photos, 3 line drawings)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-226-40121-9

Page Count: 707

Publisher: Univ. of Chicago

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1998

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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