DEADLOCK OR DECISION

THE U.S. SENATE AND THE RISE OF NATIONAL POLITICS

An important, if ponderous, inquiry into the Senate's evolution, its periods of influence and decline, and its urgent need for self-reform. Harris (Political Science/University of New Mexico; Potomac Fever, 1977, etc.) knows whereof he speaks: He's a former Democratic senator from Oklahoma. The author's concept of the ``nationalization'' of US politics—in which TV, rapid travel, and fast transmission of news have made the country a single community—is useful. Today's sometimes dysfunctional Senate, he explains, has been shaped in part by positive developments—a better-educated electorate with more interest in government, and greater media scrutiny of Senate activities. But despite Harris's reverence for what he continually calls the ``world's greatest deliberative body,'' he admits that the Senate is in bad need of reform. Legislation is held up endlessly in committees, in procedural wrangles, and by grandstanding lawmakers; the budget-making process is highly inefficient; lobbyists have a lock on senators, whose pay, Harris says, is insufficient to live on; extremism slows formation of consensus; campaign strategists pander to the worst in the electorate; and campaign finance laws are widely abused or evaded. Certain Senate powers—the ratification of treaties and confirmation of judges—have grown with time, but the Senate, Harris says, desperately needs to be restored to its place as party with the President to all military decisions before many more Koreas or Vietnams pass. Harris's analysis of the deficit crisis shows that the Senate has actually made strides in reducing the debt—if not the public-relations monster the issue has become. Descriptions of the Senate's early history are fascinating, but the text as a whole is in want of color and illustrative anecdotes; summary remarks at each section's end are highly repetitive. A effective overview of the Senate's history and development, making clear how reform of this once-august institution could profit the country immensely.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-19-508025-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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