A timely, cogent work that should be required reading for policymakers.




A call for an Army-led volunteer corps to revitalize rural and small-town America.

Meyerson’s (Nature’s Army, 2001, etc.) persuasive narrative spans America’s founding to the present as he pitches a domestic nation-building program, modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. He revisits the little-known origin of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which was created by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to teach “useful skills” for developing the nation’s nascent infrastructure. He details the Army’s unheralded administration of the first national parks, nearly a century later, as well as its largely ignored role in operating Depression-era CCC camps. Since World War II, the Army’s nation-building focus has shifted abroad. The author makes the case that today’s hollowed-out heartland economy increases America’s vulnerability to terrorism and natural disasters, and he catalogs why the Army is uniquely qualified to lead a theoretical redevelopment and training program that he calls the American Resilience Corps. He brings together a few different trends, including the rise of the internet and digital manufacturing (specifically, 3-D printing), which he says make decentralization possible. He also highlights the Army’s embrace of “Net Zero” energy, water, and waste practices, driven by deployments at remote foreign locations; its strategies to preserve readiness by “islanding” domestic bases from the power grid and other terrorism targets, he says, put it at the vanguard of sustainable development. Meyerson, with his experience as a wartime journalist, congressional staffer, policy analyst, and independent scholar, blends smooth prose, detailed research, and a command of U.S. military history; he also shows a firm grasp of potential policymaking pitfalls. His supporting evidence is clear and compelling, and his proposal is a pleasure to read. The 2016 presidential campaign highlighted America’s urgent need to rebuild regions that have been left behind by the economy, but anger and blame have eclipsed concrete plans. This is a substantive program, however, that’s worthy of serious national debate.

A timely, cogent work that should be required reading for policymakers.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-79942-0

Page Count: 326

Publisher: John Marr Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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


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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