While Sykes's reach is wider than it is deep, he poses the questions that we must address if we are to prevent a continued...


In a famous phrase, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once observed that, at least with respect to the government, the right to privacy gave citizens "the right to be let alone." That right is being eroded, says journalist Sykes (Dumbing Down Our Kids, 1995, etc.).

According to Sykes, the Information Age has placed privacy, which has always been precarious, in further jeopardy by making the most intimate information available in a couple of keystrokes. While in the past privacy has been most at risk from governmental intrusion, this is no longer the case. Sykes catalogues ways that commercial applications, which track everything from consumer preferences to medical histories, have begun to erode the private sphere. Many of these collection efforts have good intentions, such as promoting public health or collecting unpaid child support. Once these databases have been compiled, however, they are subject to unintended uses and abuses. For instance, genetic testing conducted to help at-risk individuals avoid medical complications can just as easily be used by insurers to exclude high-risk applicants from coverage. What do Americans think about all of this? The answer seems to be, not much. Sykes is clearly frustrated by our lack of alarm in the face of a problem that has dire implications for individual autonomy. He suggests that our apathy stems from a combination of forces, ranging from our talk-show "tell-all" mentality to our sense that technology has become so ubiquitous that struggling against it is futile. What can we do? Sykes sensibly acknowledges that attempts to carve out legislative protections for individual privacy are unlikely to succeed. Rather, he recommends that we take a modest first step: begin by placing a higher premium on our own privacy.

While Sykes's reach is wider than it is deep, he poses the questions that we must address if we are to prevent a continued erosion of personal privacy.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-312-20350-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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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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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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