A bombastic but vigorous and often persuasive case against drinking.


Alcohol poses a greater threat to America’s well-being than al-Qaida, argues this temperance manifesto.

Graybill (Bravo! The Case for Italian Musical Mastery, 2014, etc.), a retired history teacher, presents a wide-ranging and vehement indictment of alcoholic beverages and their destruction of the body, mind, and social fabric. He reviews statistics on alcohol’s death toll—88,000 per year in the United States—carcinogenic properties, and dire effects on the liver, brain, and developing fetuses. He revisits infamous alcoholic incidents, from the Bible story of Lot’s drunken seduction by his daughters to Edward Kennedy’s car crash at Chappaquiddick; toasts hatchet-wielding temperance crusader Carrie Nation; and mourns talents blighted by drink, from Hemingway to Lindsay Lohan. He surveys and deplores the cultural promotion and glamorization of alcohol, from winery tours to comped casino drinks, frat house hazings, and lovable comic-strip drunks like Andy Capp. At the book’s heart is a lurid litany of news reports about drunks and their disastrous antics: the pilot pulled out of the cockpit just before takeoff and the passenger who tried to open the cabin door in midflight; the woman who snuck into a zoo to pet a tiger; many men who tried to kill their girlfriends; and numerous drivers who left trails of mangled victims in their wakes. (The author includes a moving personal recollection of a family he knew that was profoundly damaged by the father’s alcoholic violence.) Graybill writes with an old-school moral outrage, decrying “the terrorist, alcohol” and thundering that “the tyrant, alcohol, had crushed our second great American Revolution” when Prohibition was repealed. He embellishes the text with anti-alcohol memes (“Sober Slogan #2: The horsefly is brainier than the barfly”), poems, and satirical songs (“Please, deceive me. Make me think / That I’m charming when I drink”). He proposes a battery of anti-drinking initiatives, some of them feasible, such as banning liquor industry ads and sponsorships, others impossibly utopian. (“There should never be a single drunkard employed within the vast and influential offices of the American media.”) The author’s partisanship and dudgeon will put off some readers, but he ably marshals his facts to craft a hard-hitting jeremiad.

A bombastic but vigorous and often persuasive case against drinking.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62006-087-2

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Brown Posey Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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



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

Did you like this book?



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

Did you like this book?