PRESENT CONCERNS

Impeccable, fanciful/polemical tidbits of Christian-oriented journalism—including one unpublished essay—from the author of The Screwtape Letters and The Narnia Chronicles. A cheerful introduction from editor Hooper (Oxford don and old friend of lewis) mentions Lewis' pronounced aversion to newspapers—he rarely wrote for them, read them next to never—and gives detailed publication sources for the 14 anomalous, previously uncollected essays that follow. Written between 1940 and 1962, most of these pieces employ a particular current event or concern (a government report on higher education; the publication of a book challenging logical positivism; the obscenity trial of Lady Chatterly's Lover) as a springboard for probing commentary on man's spiritual state. For example, in the longest essay, "On Living in an Atomic Age" (1948), Lewis uses increasing worry about the bomb as an occasion for illuminating man's place in the universe, quickly and surgically excising hedonism and existentialism as untenable philosophies and making a strong case for the moral necessity, at least, of faith in something beyond the visible. What saves all this from deadly gravity is Lewis' quietly aristocratic dry humor (an essay on "Sex in Literature" concludes, "Four-letter words may soon be as dated as antimacassars"); his astonishing command of the English language: and some startlingly unexpected views (e.g., arguing in Prudery and Philogy" that authors avoid using obscenities in order to preserve the originality of the "last folk art" left: the dirty joke). Although not Lewis at his very best, still representative of his polished profundity, and more provocative than most journalism collections.

Pub Date: March 25, 1987

ISBN: 0156027852

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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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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