The passions of a social-democrat artist: a baker's dozen essays and speeches voicing Grass's sober, doggedly honest political humanism. As always, Grass gets right down to business. "Ladies and Gentlemen," he tells the Belgrade Writers Conference (1969), "I'm against revolution. . . I detest the sacrifices that always have to be made in its name." Speaking in Athens during the reign of the colonels (1972), he condemns their suppression of democracy, and rehearses his own painful case: At the end of WW II Grass was a 17-year-old Hitler youth, who had just missed being called up, "too young to participate in the crimes of National Socialism, but old enough to have been shaped by their consequences." Belatedly discovering the horrors of the Holocaust, in his native Danzig and elsewhere, he continues to wrestle with his guilt (as in "What Shall We Tell Our Children?"). In this, he attacks the cowardice, the murderous bureaucracy, and demented utopianism of the Nazis and all subsequent dictatorships, right and left, in the First, Second, and Third Worlds. In "Superpower Backyards" (1982) he angrily compares Nicaragua to Poland—though without simply equating the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. In "Kafka and His Executors" (1978) he applies Kafka's "vision of totalitarian administration" to the Czechoslovakian regime and Germany, East and West. In "Erfurt 1970 and 1891" (1970) he looks back over the history of socialist revisionism and hails the sanity and decency of the much decried (by Marxists) Eduard Bernstein. Grass seems to have no illusions. In "The Destruction of Mankind Has Begun" (1982) he accepts the grim findings of the Club of Rome reports, and says that he writes, not out of hope, but "because I can't help it." This collection of occasional pieces is a humble, workmanlike affair, of no great stylistic brilliance. But Grass's unblinking intelligence and moral power make it a more than respectable performance.

Pub Date: June 21, 1985

ISBN: 0156687933

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1985

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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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