A well-intentioned but sometimes-controversial guide to preventing and diagnosing behavioral problems.



An examination of adult neuroses connects most difficulties to early infancy and children’s interactions with their mothers.

Holtzman’s (Dead End Sex, 2016, etc.) manual intends to help mothers in “getting it right the first time” by discussing behaviors they should avoid in order to be “Mothers From Heaven” instead of “Mothers From Somewhere Far Below.” After learning about dermatoglyphics—the science of diagnosing disease by studying the hands and feet—Holtzman wondered if physical attributes could be used to identify behavioral problems. Touting the power of subconscious memories, the author claims that nothing is ever truly forgotten, asserting that babies’ positive maternal experiences—such as the uninterrupted comfort of suckling at breasts—are crucial to their healthy cognitive development. “Criminal mothering,” writes the author, makes a child feel worthless and creates adults “who are incapable of experiencing joy.” Freud is center stage in this exploration, and clinical jargon, such as the “false self” (an artificial persona created for protection from trauma), is applied liberally. In addition to definitions of terms, chapters include vivid anecdotes about people who suffer from various neuroses, like Janice, who was rejected by her mother as a child and is unable to form lasting adult relationships. Chapters conclude with useful tidbits; for example, instead of scowling when babies pick up dirty objects, mothers should smile and replace the offensive items with something suitable. Holtzman’s prose is academic and sometimes heady but never dull—there is even a little humor. He jokes about Jewish mothers who might whack him “with a purse” if he offers any advice about them. Somewhat old school in tone—footnotes explain that the pronoun he is used for grammatical continuity—this unapologetic work may be offensive to some readers. For example, ADD and ADHD are referred to as disorders that are “now the rage.” And even though he mentions genetics as one reason for homosexuality, Holtzman also claims that “deficit-father syndrome” is a cause.

A well-intentioned but sometimes-controversial guide to preventing and diagnosing behavioral problems.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-981696-92-5

Page Count: 286

Publisher: PDC Books

Review Posted Online: March 8, 2018

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


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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