NIXON

AN ORAL HISTORY OF HIS PRESIDENCY

In the manner of their oral history of JFK's administration (Let Us Begin Anew, 1993), the Strobers present a vast miscellany of musings about Nixon and his administration by insiders, Cabinet members, and other contemporaries. Readers benumbed by the spate of books marking the 20th anniversary of Nixon's resignation will find the Strobers' undidactic approach to history refreshing. Asking, but never definitively answering, provocative questions such as ``Who ordered the Watergate break-in?'' and ``Why didn't Nixon destroy the tapes?,'' the Strobers simply allow Nixon administration principals, Watergate figures, and Nixon opponents to speak about the man and his turbulent presidency. The interviewees reflect on Nixon's election, his domestic and foreign policy achievements, the Pentagon Papers, the 1972 campaign, the second administration, and, especially, the Watergate scandal, Nixon's resignation, and his post-Watergate rehabilitation. For all their immediacy and apparent candor, however, the reminiscences do not shed new light on these subjects. For example, in a chapter asking why the Watergate break- ins were ordered, all of the interviewees, including John Ehrlichman and G. Gordon Liddy, profess ignorance or offer unsatisfying speculations, and Gerald Ford denies having considered pardoning Nixon prior to his resignation, although Ford acknowledges that the issue came up in a pre-resignation meeting with Alexander Haig. In conclusion, the interviewees speculate on Nixon in the post-Watergate era and on his legacy, with views ranging predictably from those, like former Nixon counsel Leonard Garment, who feel Nixon's policy achievements outweighed his failures, to those who, like Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, consider Nixon irrevocably tainted by Watergate: ``I think that Watergate stains his whole presidency. You can't avoid it; you can't write an obit about Willie Sutton and not talk about robbing a bank.'' Though hardly groundbreaking, this collection of interviews presents an engrossing portrait of Nixon and his troubled administrations.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-017027-1

Page Count: 608

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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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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