This account effectively shows how the failure of Americo-Liberians to develop a nation doomed the dreams of the original...



A former World Bank official in Liberia chronicles the country’s turbulent history in this debut book.

Liberia has carried the weight of great expectations ever since the first group of 86 free blacks from the United States—inspired by Paul Cuffe, a biracial Quaker—set foot on its shores in 1820. Cuffe had a “vision of aiding fellow blacks both in Africa and America,” Reese writes, one that would be enthusiastically shared by others seeking a solution to the U.S. racial dilemma. But as the author successfully, if somewhat laboriously, details in his history of Liberia from 1820 to the military coup led by Sgt. Samuel Doe in 1980, those expectations have largely—and ironically—been dashed. “The society that soon emerged” in Liberia “curiously mimicked, in some respects, that of the American old South from which many of the settlers had escaped,” Reese observes. “Liberia in many ways came to smack of antebellum Mississippi or nineteenth-century Rhodesia.” Using a wealth of contemporary and secondary sources, the book skillfully captures the immense challenges that faced those who projected their dreams of redeeming African-Americans and “civilizing” Africans onto a tribal, agricultural society that was singularly ill-equipped for nationhood. Some settlers were “surrounded by hostile warriors, their stores nearly exhausted, and fevers ever threatening,” with a colonist and an English sailor killed in an early skirmish. Much more blood would be shed right through the long presidency (1944-71) of William Tubman, the “Maker of Modern Liberia,” and the assassination of his successor, William Tolbert, in Doe’s coup. The author clearly highlights the key flaw in the Liberian nation-building project—the “chasm” between the worlds of the privileged Americo-Liberian elite and the impoverished indigenous peoples. “The Americo-Liberians simply failed to forge a nation out of and in association with the mix of tribal Africans they ruled,” Reese asserts. But he neglects to acknowledge that the disasters of the Americo-Liberians flowed from the settlers’ racist attitudes. Even Cuffe himself complained that if the free people “of Colour would exert themselves more and more in industry and honesty, it would” greatly help those still enslaved.

This account effectively shows how the failure of Americo-Liberians to develop a nation doomed the dreams of the original settlers.

Pub Date: July 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4947-5343-6

Page Count: 738

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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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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