A must-read for hardcore car buffs and a must-skim for casual drivers and general readers.



The well-researched story of an iconic car.

Translated from German, Volkswagen means "people's car," an ironic moniker considering that the company was founded in 1937 by the Nazi trade union. Nonetheless, the company's signature product, the Beetle, became one of the most iconic autos in the United States. How? As Hiott writes, it was a felicitous combination of smart design, an affordable price point and savvy advertising and marketing. Even today, the company knows how to creatively raise brand awareness—the publication of this book was timed to coincide with the release of the newly designed Beetle. Hiott’s debut is an assured, enthusiastic account of a company that, oddly enough considering its rich, controversial history, has yet to receive such in-depth treatment. The author goes beyond the cars themselves, exploring why the Beetles of the 1960s and ’70s—certainly not the sexiest or most impressive automobiles—became hip. Since the majority of the action took place decades ago, there's very little in the way of conversation in the narrative, but Hiott's passionate authority makes for enjoyable reading. The sheer amount of detail may deter readers who have limited interest in the Beetle, but if you're a fan of fahrvergnügen, this is essential stuff.

A must-read for hardcore car buffs and a must-skim for casual drivers and general readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-345-52142-2

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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