IBERIA

SPANISH TRAVELS AND REFLECTIONS

Michener contributes a gigantic guidebook and, via some 500 pages in relatively small print, has seen and reviewed Spain. The book is a staggering paiella of information culled from history, conversations, literature and Michener's stays there for over thirty years. There is no plan, no itinerary per se, just wanderings, retracings and musings. He moves through a cathedral, defines a few Spanish words, discusses Toledo ware. He recommends books and instructs the reader on how to make a gaspacho. He talks about the Inquisition, the Don Juan literature, the Civil War (he is glad now that he didn't join up since he realizes that the Communists took over the Republican side very early), the effect Swedish girls have had on sexual mores, Carlos V, flan, bullfighting (the one long and comprehensive section—Michener has observed about 251 bullfights), the change of seasons in a great swamp, Compostela. And many cities, many towns. There is even a long conversation with friends of Hemingway about Papa. There are times, though, when Michener's reportage is just too intrusive and cloying. And once again he is bland, and his opinions are ordinary. But he does give good information about Spain and hopefully there will be an index and perhaps the book could be shrunk to the size of a tourist's pocket. In any case, it will travel—and the Book-of-the-Month Club selection is just another assurance of its predictable popularity.

Pub Date: April 12, 1968

ISBN: 0394429826

Page Count: 960

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1968

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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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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