A disorderly work that still offers a few captivating glimpses of pioneer life.




Brown retells tales of his northwest Alabama family in this historical debut.

The author’s grandfather Clover McKinley Palmer was born in January 1899, the son of Blue John Palmer and Mary Dizenia. The author speculates that Clover’s conception took place in a field of “freshly bloomed purplish clover heads,” inspiring the boy’s unusual name. His grandfather’s legend, he writes, is “like all legends…a convoluted layering of facts and fables.” The opening of this pioneer tale describes Clover’s courtship and secret marriage to the author’s grandmother Cora Lee Goodson, which took place in the shade of a pine tree on a country road. The author then veers off to recount stories of Clover’s forebears; many of these are engaging, such as that of his third great-grandfather Dr. Russell Porter Palmer, who witnessed a cowgirl accidentally shoot her own horse, and his fourth great-grandfather William Mansell, who married a woman named Morning Dove White of the Cherokee Nation. The study is loaded with intrigue—including a familial link to Elvis Presley—and it will likely prove to be a valuable record for the author’s family. However, the execution is weak. The author rejects the use of a linear timeline, and as a result, his focus wanders back and forth between various ancestors, complicating the narrative and making the text difficult to follow. Stylistically, Brown’s writing is conversational but repetitive; for instance, he often draws upon a clumsy kaleidoscope metaphor: “Life is that way and the kaleidoscope within which it is contained may twist and turn in infinite directions.” Six pages later, he writes: “the kaleidoscope twisted and turned over the next decade,” and two pages on, he refers to “destiny’s kaleidoscope.” These references continue throughout and become tiring. The overall lack of organization is epitomized by the book’s idiosyncratic ending, which consists of the lyrics of two ballads followed by recipes and ancestral photographs.

A disorderly work that still offers a few captivating glimpses of pioneer life.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4897-1537-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: LifeRichPublishing

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2018

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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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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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