Occasionally repetitious; best for history trivia buffs and Kuehn's family members.




Debut author Kuehn collaborates with debut co-author Ruggeri to pen a tribute to his paternal grandparents in this look back at Wisconsin farm life during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

Driven by a desire to better understand his grandparents, Carl August Kuehn and Hulda Theresa Bandt Kuehn, Kuehn returned to Ripon, Wisconsin, in a quest for information about the Eastern European immigrants who settled as farmers in the northern part of the state. The work traces scant documented family land transactions, adding general historical data about the area as well as Kuehn’s personal recollections of the two decades spent visiting his grandparents on their farm. The result is this celebration of the “dignified, quiet, and unassuming lives” led by the simple, hardworking folk who populated rural Wisconsin. Both Grandpa Charly and Grandma Hulda were first-generation offspring of Prussian immigrants who had separately arrived midcentury in Princeton, Wisconsin. Charlie married Hulda in 1894 when he was 24 years old, she only 16. They lived with Hulda’s parents until the spring of 1895, when they rented a house in Metomen, where Charly helped work his father’s farm. In 1907, Charly purchased his own farm in Ripon, remaining there until his death in 1956. Much of this first-person narrative, written in Kuehn’s voice, is culled from reference books and is therefore not specific to Kuehn’s family. The authors enhance what are sometimes rather dry historical and geographical details with long passages that imagine what Charly might have been thinking: “Sitting on the porch stoop before going to bed, I took in my surroundings. Short loud trills of gray tree frogs filled the air. The warm summer breeze had cleared the sky and all the stars were out looking down upon us.” The text is overloaded with recent family genealogy, which becomes tedious, but it’s also sprinkled with some historical lifestyle gems; e.g., how to bake bread in a wood-stove oven and why women often wore black wedding dresses.

Occasionally repetitious; best for history trivia buffs and Kuehn's family members.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9992780-0-0

Page Count: 140

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2017

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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