THE WARS OF THE ROSES

THROUGH THE LIVES OF FIVE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY

Seward (Metternich, 1991, etc.) retells the story of England's 15th-century dynastic struggles by focusing on five of its most colorful protagonists. The Wars of the Roses were fought between 1455 and 1487 to decide which branch of the English royal family should reign: York, headed by Richard Plantagenet, or Lancaster, led by Henry VI. Several studies have recently come out on this chaotic period (see Alison Weir's The Wars of the Roses, p. 848); Seward says that the structure of his book was inspired by Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror. He introduces us to William Hastings, who rose to become the most influential man in England only to be executed by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), because Hastings could have protected the duke's nephews, known as the ``Princes in the Tower.'' We meet John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who was forced to flee abroad, turned pirate, was imprisoned for ten years, and eventually helped defeat Richard at Bosworth Field. There is Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII), who financed her son's invasions and forged the vital alliance that toppled Richard. We follow the long career of political cleric Dr. John Morton, who eventually worked for Richard's defeat and became cardinal archbishop of Canterbury, chancellor of England, and mentor to the young Thomas More. And there is Jane Shore, daughter of a London merchant, who was mistress to some of the most powerful men in the country but ended her days begging in London during the reign of Henry VIII. Seward's fast-paced narrative is a happy mix of detail and anecdote, given color by apt quotations from contemporary sources and by the author's mastery of the English language. An attractive account of a complex and significant period in English history. (8 pages color illustrations, b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-670-84258-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

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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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IN MY PLACE

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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