Fascinating stuff. A boon for students of military history and naval warfare.

THE TSAR’S LAST ARMADA

THE EPIC JOURNEY TO THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA

A stirring reconstruction of one of history’s great—and least-known—naval battles.

On May 14 and 15, 1905, a Japanese fleet destroyed much of Russia’s navy in a pitched battle in the Tsushima Straits, between Japan and Korea. It was the last of many indignities for the Russian fleet, writes Russian historian Pleshakov (The Flight of the Romanovs, 1999), which had traveled halfway around the world to find safe anchorage at Vladivostok but had been dogged by bad luck and misadventure, including an attack on a group of British fishing boats off the coast of Spain; moreover, the Russian ships, though commanded by the renowned Admiral Zinovy Petrovich Rozhestvensky, were badly equipped and antiquated, staffed by ineffective line officers and rebellious sailors, and backed by incomplete and sometimes erroneous intelligence. The Japanese fleet that awaited them in the straits made short work of the Russians, who struggled vainly “to shake off the pursuers like a hunted bear shakes off hounds.” Of 38 Russian ships, only 3 made it to Vladivostok. Imprisoned for a time in Japan, Rozhestvensky and other survivors faced court-martial on their return home; four captains were given death sentences (later reduced to imprisonment), while Rozhestvensky was allowed to resign his commission. Pleshakov does a fine job of explaining the military and political complexities of the conflict and of introducing small-scale but telling details into the big picture of history. He notes, for example, that at least some of Tsar Nicholas II’s animosity toward Japan, which led to the Russo-Japanese War, could be traced back to an incident whereupon the then-prince, visiting the city of Otsu in 1891, was attacked by an insane samurai. Pleshakov also vividly describes the battle itself, which, understandably, does not figure widely in many Russian textbooks.

Fascinating stuff. A boon for students of military history and naval warfare.

Pub Date: April 15, 2002

ISBN: 0-465-05791-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2002

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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