GEORGE BUSH'S WAR

According to Smith (Political Science/Univ. of Toronto; Lucius D. Clay, 1990, etc.) in this volatile study, America's adventure in the Persian Gulf War was not a crusade for freedom but a checkpoint on the personal agenda of George Bush, who disregarded constitutional restrictions on presidential power and cynically manipulated the public, the press, Congress, and even the military. Quoting contemporary media accounts, books, and academic and law journals, Smith chronicles Bush's personalization of the crisis and details the resulting twists and turns of public perception, policy, and action. By Smith's account, Bush showed little interest in the Iraq situation until he met with Margaret Thatcher, who ``performed a successful backbone transplant'' and convinced him that Saddam Hussein posed a Hitler-like threat to the entire Middle East. According to Smith, this resonated with Bush's penchant for heroism and led him to adopt a ``crusading'' posture against Iraq. This personalizing of world affairs resulted in rapid, short-term success, but Smith spells out its possible dangers for democracy: Bush's alleged disregarding of expert advice, particularly from the State Department and the military, could have led to disaster, Smith says; and the crumbling of congressional caution during the crisis, he adds, undermined the separation of powers, making the President a virtual dictator of foreign policy. Particularly damning is Smith's abundant evidence of the Administration's policy of ``minimum candor'': even Generals Powell and Schwartzkopf apparently learned of Bush's decision to switch from defensive to offensive operations through TV news reports. Balancing criticism of the President with praise for military professionalism (especially in resisting adventurous campaigns), this study gives a better sense of the complexities of the situation, and sticks closer to the reported facts, than Stephen Graubard's similar (and similarly titled) Mr. Bush's War (to be published next month).

Pub Date: March 20, 1992

ISBN: 0-8050-1388-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1992

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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