SMALL PERSONAL VOICE

Assorted insights and opinions dom assorted book reviews, essays, interviews including a new preface to The Golden Notebook which redefines Doris Lessing's best known book from several facets (which she claims eluded most critics) and not necessarily as a pro-feminist statement (even if Anna did say — did she not — that the real revolution of our time is that of "women against men"). We know the various positions Lessing has taken and they are of course asserted here — whether on the disintegration of society and perhaps worse to come (which will make Women's Lib only seem "quaint" at some future time); on education (she left school at fourteen and benefited from her own ability to read or discard what she wanted); on madness or breakdown as she interpreted it, before Laing, as a form of self-healing; on the falling away of life in general and the small-mindedness of the systems imposed on it; etc. etc. etc. There is a touching piece on "My Father" who ended up "a thin shabby fly-away figure under the stars" and the reviews are variously on Malcolm X and Idries Shah and Sufism, Vonnegut and the little known Eugene Marais, Isak Dinesen and Olive Schreiner whose Story of an African Farm (1885) was recently reprinted. Necessarily in this form, or rather these forms, a certain repetitiousness is invited; inconsistency is also not hard to find; but all of that is incidental to what is really important for and about Doris Lessing. The title essay is where you will find her at her strongest — contending that the realistic novel, particularly of the 19th century, is the "highest form of prose writing" and that the novel should entail warmth, compassion, a love of people (as against Camus, Sartre, Genet, Beckett and their "acceptance of disgust" which betrays it) and make "a statement of faith in man himself." All in all, both controversially and reconcilably, a stimulus, an illumination, a pleasure.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1974

ISBN: 0006547591

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1974

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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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