An insightful and entertaining, if philosophically uneven, memoir.

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ASSHOLE ATTORNEY

MUSINGS, MEMORIES, AND MISSTEPS IN A 40 YEAR CAREER

A lawyer recounts his eventful professional exploits.

Wood (Presidential Intentions, 2014) was a peripatetic army brat who grew up in eight different houses over the course of his childhood. His father, he says, was a highly decorated soldier whose intemperate drinking devolved into alcoholism after a tragic accident left Wood’s mother a quadriplegic. The author writes that he was a shiftless student, but he made it into the first freshman class of the new Franklin Pierce Law Center (now part of the University of New Hampshire), founded in 1973, and subsequently earned a law degree from New York University in 1977. He worked for more than 30 years as an attorney in the advertising and entertainment industries, running his own firm at one point. He also worked as the “chief negotiator for the advertising industry,” he says, overseeing its collective bargaining arrangements with the Screen Actors Guild. This memoir is more of an impressionistic collage of vignettes than a thorough autobiography, although it generally unfolds in a chronological, linear fashion. Many of Wood’s remembrances are intimately revealing; for example, he reflects poignantly on the deaths of his mother and father, and lovingly relates the courtship of his wife of 35 years, whom he met in fifth grade. The focus of his reminiscences, though, is his legal career, which had its share of drama. The book’s longest memory reads like a comic tale of espionage, in which he’s exposed to danger in Poland and Cuba while representing the Phillips Beverage Company. Wood’s prose is crisp and anecdotal, and he’s refreshingly unafraid to poke fun at his misadventures. Not all his stories are equally gripping, but many are lighthearted and amusing; for example, he tells of unintentionally paying $14,000 at auction for a cigar humidor signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Wood often draws lessons from his experiences, summarized in the concluding chapter, which seems infused with a misanthropic cynicism similar to his father’s, who said, “Remember this. People are no damn good.” However, contradictorily, Wood also imparts several tales of astonishingly good people, including a law school dean who volunteered to pay the author’s tuition. 

An insightful and entertaining, if philosophically uneven, memoir.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9988617-2-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Plum Bay Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2018

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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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