A glimpse into the past that is more intriguing for the details of the period that it reveals than for the narrative it...



The past is brought to life in this reproduction of an early 20th-century travel journal.

Cox (Immigrant Pathways in and near Fox HillFox Point: A Journey through History, 2016) presents the edited journal of Ruth Kent, who went on a “Grand Tour” of Europe with her sister and parents in 1902, following her graduation from Smith College. Kent traveled from New England to Germany, and also ventured into neighboring areas such as Switzerland and the Netherlands. She recounts her many experiences as she and her family explored Europe in a variety of fashions, including horse and carriage, train, boat, and an early-edition automobile. Kent’s writing focuses on both the large and small facts of her trips. She describes everything from the breathtaking architecture of cathedrals and castles to the mundane details of her days, such as the meals she ate and the foibles of their breakdown-prone car. Kent and her family met many other travelers on their journey, including a Spanish countess, English aristocrats, and even other young women from Kent’s school in New England on Grand Tours of their own. The diary delivers a look at life at the turn of the 20th century, and in particular a popular vacation trend from that era. Reading Kent’s words reveals a snapshot of economic privilege, Victorian-influenced social norms, and a landscape that would become the hotbed of World War I roughly a decade later. The color photographs that accompany the journal, while occasionally out of focus, provide context for Kent’s adventures and help the reader understand the various locations that she describes. But the journal’s biggest strength is also its occasional weakness—the ordinariness of her encounters. While it can be engrossing from a historical perspective to examine the minutiae of Kent’s days (down to the dishes used to serve afternoon tea), readers wanting a tale of thrilling escapades or eventful treks will likely be disappointed. Although Kent keeps a fairly precise account of her travels, very little occurs that is remarkable.

A glimpse into the past that is more intriguing for the details of the period that it reveals than for the narrative it presents.

Pub Date: July 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5305-1262-1

Page Count: 156

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

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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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