Unconvincing arguments about Islam and the Quran.

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SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ON ISLAM

Latta presents his wide-ranging thoughts on the Quran in this debut book.

The author begins by calling into question the very notion of hate speech and Islamophobia. He posits that it’s the Western media that are truly afraid of Islam—and with good reason. For the author, supporters of Islam are “misogynistic, slavery-loving, sex-obsessed halfwits.” He believes that “the West, out of a pure need for self-preservation among other things, must banish Islam.” He discusses the misogyny he finds in the Quran, citing verses pertaining to men’s domination over women and the promise of 72 virgins in the afterlife for Muslim men. Latta describes that promise as “land-grabber” Muhammad’s recruitment strategy for his conquest of the “sociopathic, uneducated part of the world.” The author sidesteps many arguments about similarities between the Old Testament and the Quran by asserting that Muhammad stole and corrupted ideas from the Bible, an inherently better book because Christian fundamentalists do not bomb their own “left, right, and centre.” No actual research into ancient texts is supplied, but Latta does provide quotes from an unnamed, personal blog that, for him, proves democracy and Islam are incompatible. The only things that the author seems to hate more than the Quran are the immigration and multicultural policies of Canada, his home country. He offers several vague, anecdotal stories about Canadian immigrants to illustrate these points. (As a former soccer player, Latta himself has “witnessed the behaviour of all sorts of other ethnic…groups.”) His concluding chapters call for an all-out war against Islam. In his passionate book, the author provides some thought-provoking assertions, including that the politically correct culture has made Westerners blind and unwilling to confront the unsettling aspects of Islam’s fundamental text—a controversial yet intriguing contention worth exploring. But Latta’s attempts at brash, tell-it-like-it-is humor create a cruel and rambling voice that spews outlandish and unsupported assumptions. He compares Muslims to neo-Nazis, although he seems to show a bit more sympathy for the latter group when discussing slavery: “Even neo-Nazis are focused on sending blacks back to where they came….This means, of course, even they are not in favour of slavery. You cannot control a slave when he is on another continent.” Ultimately, his arguments are unpersuasive and will likely appeal only to like-minded readers.

Unconvincing arguments about Islam and the Quran.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5255-1551-4

Page Count: 156

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

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

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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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