A compelling narrative of the design and development of Ford cars in the 1950s and ’60s.


The Man Who Saved the V-8


The story of the creation and marketing of some of Ford’s most popular, iconic cars, as told by one of the company’s early “Whiz Kids.”

“I have always loved to drive,” Morsey says in this debut memoir. “Ever since I was a small boy, I have been fascinated with automobiles and felt the tug of the open road.” His passion took him from driving his first Ford Coupe in 1936 to convincing a boardroom of Ford executives in 1949 that V-8 models would be necessary to put the company back on top. After college, with World War II ongoing, Morsey’s father shot down his idea of going to law school, saying, “You’re going to get drafted, and you’re going to have absolutely nothing to offer the army—no skills at all.” So, with his father’s recommendation, Morsey instead started working for IBM, where he learned the essentials of good business and how customer satisfaction could sell products better than market research. The author deftly weaves the lessons he learned into his narrative, but he’s always careful to bring his readers back into the action of the story. As a lead market analyst for Ford, he learned of a new initiative to stop production of the V-8 engine. Morsey’s passion comes through in this section, since he understood that the V-8 didn’t sell Ford cars because it was cheaper or more efficient but because it gave people pride to drive one. It’s intriguing to watch the concepts develop, such as the author’s idea of the Thunderbird as “the apple in the window”: The legendary car didn’t make money on its own, he says, but customers desired it so much that it led them to buy other, more practical Ford cars. Children who saw their parents idolizing the sleek Thunderbird grew into adults, and Morsey and future Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca sold them the sporty yet sensible Ford Mustang in the late 1960s.Morsey’s detailed prose, passionate recollections and careful documentation help bring this era of automotive history to life.

A compelling narrative of the design and development of Ford cars in the 1950s and ’60s.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4923-5733-9

Page Count: 156

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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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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