A pleasing romp: punk in attitude but literary in execution and a fine work of armchair travel for those unwilling to strap...



Want to see the seamy side of a country? Go on tour as a rock musician.

Nicolay, a multi-instrumentalist and founder of a Brooklyn collective called Anti-Social Music, combines a number of interests and skills, all serving him well in his effort to épater la bourgeoisie and see the unusual parts of little-visited nations: he is not only a master of such things as the electric banjo and the accordion, but also a self-described Slavophile and “enthusiast of Balkan music since an encounter with a bootleg cassette of the Bulgarian clarinetist Ivo Papasov.” A knowing reader of Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), his copy of which was stolen in comparatively safe France, Nicolay conjures up all manner of scruffy types: the promoter who swears he’s getting out of the business after trying to rob his moneymakers (“Can I PayPal you the money?” he pleads on getting caught in the act); a “stocky, ham-fisted, forty-five-year-old veterinarian” with a bent for weird conspiracy theories; a Romanian soundman who “played cajón, of all things, with the opening act, alongside an acoustic guitarist and a singer in a Wasted Youth T-shirt.” Such figures lend themselves to lampooning and rough stereotyping, but Nicolay is mostly sympathetic and gentle; he likes the DIY spirit of the post-communist frontier, clearly, and doesn’t mind a little bad food. In the end, the book would be much like what Paul Theroux might write if he played the musical saw, lived on beer and borscht, and had a sense of humor—more humor than the KGB officials, at any rate, who classified Kiss and AC/DC as punk rock and therefore suspect of aiding and comforting young Soviets of a “contrarian bent.”

A pleasing romp: punk in attitude but literary in execution and a fine work of armchair travel for those unwilling to strap on an accordion on the streets of Rostov for themselves.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62097-179-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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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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