Full of surprises—who knew that Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash hated Dubya so?



Country is, by definition, the music of country people. But it’s now the province of the suburbanites, and the suburbanites have gone fascist, and so has mainstream country music.

So run the main outlines of Entertainment Weekly writer Willman’s study of country music in the modern era, though his argument proceeds with considerably greater nuance. Country has always been full of politics, but that all changed when Garth Brooks came along and dumbed it down for an increasingly dumb audience. Then along came Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks to profess shame for being from Texas, whose governor-turned-president was now looking for a war. All hell broke loose: The suburbanites had pitchforks and torches, and only one big radio station in the country would play the Chicks’ treasonous (and hitherto hit-making) music. Willman goes into much detail on the Maines event, which had the effect of drawing out the cryptorightists in Nashville to rally round the flag: Travis Tritt, the awful Brooks & Dunn, the still more awful Toby Keith. Even the nonpolitical Vince Gill was heard mouthing Bushian pieties, though his pal Rodney Crowell insists that Vince is really a liberal at heart. (Steve Earle—who admits to packing up for New York because the split-level hicks are getting just a little too scary—vouches for Gill’s credentials, too.) Willman’s stroll through the minefields is engaging, and he tries to be evenhanded, though those scary hicks sometimes move him to passion, as when he notes, relative to an anti-Maines protest featuring a demonstrator who’s been loudly accusing Chicks fans of lesbianism in the presence of his teenage daughter, “nothing says ‘joint custody’ like a night of father/daughter dyke baiting.”

Full of surprises—who knew that Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash hated Dubya so?

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2005

ISBN: 1-59558-017-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2005

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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