Rich in research, provocative in conception and nettlesome to both the right and the left.



McWilliams (History/Texas State Univ.; A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America, 2005, etc.) argues for moderation and compromise in today’s raging food fights.

Until recently, the author was a locavore—one who eats locally produced food. Though he still believes that it is a dietary commitment with many virtues, he argues that it’s also a feeble, ineffective way to feed the world’s hungry billions. He claims he has no political axe to grind, but he begins with a caricature of the locavores, taking some gratuitous shots at Michael Pollan and Wendell Berry—though he does favorably quote the former later on. Once he’s blown away his straw men, McWilliams presents some appealing alternatives to the views of both the agrarian romantics on the left and the agribusiness capitalists on the right. He says that we’ve exaggerated the importance of the concept of “food miles” (how far—and how expensively—food travels from farm to fork), and he declares that “organic” is appealing and preferable, but wonders how long the earth could accommodate a process that, because of its lower yields, requires more land. The author advocates a judicious use of genetically engineered seeds and food products, believes we must reduce our passion for land-animal protein—it requires far too many resources to produce and pollutes the air, land and water—and urges more attention to the nascent science of aquaponics (fish and plant life grown together in symbiotic cycles). McWilliams then examines political and trade issues and offers more “rational subsidy suggestions”—including government support for crop diversity, aquaponics and seed drilling. He concludes that the best food-production model may be “a broad pattern of regionally integrated, technologically advanced, middle-sized farms.”

Rich in research, provocative in conception and nettlesome to both the right and the left.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-03374-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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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

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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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