THE REAR VIEW

A BRIEF AND ELEGANT HISTORY OF BOTTOMS THROUGH THE AGES

Hennig, a freelance journalist, offers diverse cultural, historical, artistic, and literary perspectives on human hindquarters. He may not have any fundamental aesthetic thesis to propound in this loosely arranged series of vignette-essays, but his conversational touch lightly mocks academia's current obsession with such matters as body theory and the ``gaze.'' In his ongoing contemplation of the S-silhouette and the hourglass figure, Hennig examines, tongue-in-cheek, such aspects of the posterior as its evolution, its depiction in the art of Renoir, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec, the comparative movie careers of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, the three varieties of bottom-pinching as practiced in Italy (pizzicato, vivace, and sustenuto), and the medieval blazon, which is an apostrophic verse genre devoted to body parts. Hennig does not neglect the male buttocks, noting representations from the ancient Greeks through Michelangelo and up to GÇricault. One of the odder items that Hennig turns up concerns one theory about the Mona Lisa's ``twisted, slightly idiotic smile,'' which supposedly is a representation of a boy's posterior turned on its side. Throughout, these disquisitions are embellished with literary allusions and quotes from the likes of Baudelaire and Apollinaire, though Hennig sometimes over-relies on certain sources, such as Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape for anthropology and Sir Kenneth Clark's art criticism. The only drawback to this slim, entertaining volume is its Francocentrism: Noted buttocks fanciers Chaucer and Swinburne go unmentioned, although Hennig discusses French slang and advertising campaigns at some length. Although The Rear View often risks glib showiness, its celebration of the derriäre is generally witty, amusing, and literate. (16 pages b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: April 2, 1997

ISBN: 0-517-70814-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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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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