THE ULTRA-MAGIC DEALS

AND THE MOST SECRET SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP, 1940-1946

Much has been written (e.g., David Kahn's Seizing the Enigma, 1991) about the high-grade intelligence (dubbed ``Ultra'' and ``Magic'') available to the Allies during WW II as a result of the UK's ability to read many of Nazi Germany's ciphers and of America's success in cracking Japanese codes. Comparatively less attention has been paid to the lengthy and difficult negotiations that preceded the sharing of information gained from Axis message traffic. Drawing on declassified archival sources, Smith (The Shadow Warriors, 1983, etc.) bridges this gap with an engrossing account of how Whitehall and Washington finally consented to pool their cryptoanalytic resources to defeat common enemies. Noting that most countries spy on friends as well as foes, Smith first focuses on the security concerns and obstacles that long delayed a comprehensive accord. While Great Britain had managed to centralize its code-breaking operations between the wars, US efforts, the author points out, were an uncoordinated hodgepodge marked by intense, distrustful rivalry among the Army's Signal Corps, the FBI, the Office of Naval Intelligence, the State Department, and other agencies. By May 1943, however, necessity, patience, and confidence engendered by working relationships yielded the so-called ERUSA agreement that set the stage for unprecedented cooperation during the war's final 30 months—and for an enduring productive partnership. Given the secrecy surrounding any nation's code and cipher activities, the author is unable to pinpoint just when in 1947 a permanent Anglo-American pact was concluded (in response to fears about USSR ambitions). At the close, though, he leaves little doubt that the entente inspired by the sharing of WW II intelligence contributed as much to the winning of the cold war as to victory in Europe and the Pacific. An illuminating rundown on a largely ignored, albeit important, chapter in diplomatic and military history. (One map.)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-89141-483-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Presidio/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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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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