A definitive introduction to firearms training, helpful for the novice and the expert.

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PRACTICS

HANDGUN DEFENSE SYSTEM

An astonishingly comprehensive guide to the use of firearms.

According to League (The Perfect Pistol Shot, 2017), proper training in the use of a handgun requires a system that addresses the totality of possible circumstances, which presupposes but goes well beyond marksmanship and open-distance shooting. His approach is called Practics (meaning practical tactics), designed to combine the value of several different existing techniques, including point-shooting and aimed-fire shooting, but it also accommodates firing while the shooter is in motion and even while the shooting arm is in motion. And since the vast majority of gunfights occur within close range, the author discusses (in impressive detail) hand-to-hand combat techniques relevant for those circumstances and even subcontact shooting, in which a gun’s muzzle is pressed directly into the target’s flesh at the point of firing. League considers a dizzying array of scenarios—shooting in the dark, shooting around a corner and ricocheting off a wall, shooting while running, warning shots, and a seemingly endless list of others. Also, he discusses the fundamentals of marksmanship, an exhaustive account of the shooter’s tools (from holsters to knives), ambidextrous training, and the proper response to a firearm’s malfunction. The orientation of the book is unyieldingly pragmatic. League relentlessly examines a range of predicaments with which a shooter might be confronted. The entire manual is the equivalent of a three-week training course; the author also provides helpful suggestions about how to follow the prescribed course of study, which includes a surfeit of instructive drills. League was a U.S. Marine Corps marksmanship and close-combat pistol instructor, and his wealth of experience and technical mastery are extraordinary. It’s difficult to imagine what would count as a more thorough treatment of the subject—he includes a discussion of firing straight up into the air and straight down into the ground. Also, the author supplies a searching account of the legal and moral questions that inevitably confront a shooter and the situations within which a “reasonably prudent person” can legitimately resort to deadly force as a matter of self-defense. League doesn’t glamorize or recommend violence—in fact, his book seems designed to correct unrealistic depictions of gun violence peddled in popular culture—but rather attempts to convey the safest and most effective uses of firearms consistent with the law. Occasionally, the author interjects his own political sentiments regarding gun control law, views which are not uncontroversial today and will certainly rankle some readers. Not everyone will agree that the “firearm is a tool for the civilized” or the fact that “the home defender being increasingly scrutinized and caricatured is undeniable.” Some will even be astonished by the pronouncement, delivered sans argument, that “George Zimmerman legally shot Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had a God-given right, recognized by the U.S. Constitution, to defend himself— and he nearly went to prison for it.” Nevertheless, this is an impressive training manual, written with great clarity and filled with photographs helpfully illustrating its lessons.

A definitive introduction to firearms training, helpful for the novice and the expert.

Pub Date: May 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73232-460-2

Page Count: 388

Publisher: Baltimore House

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2018

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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