DIANNE FEINSTEIN

NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU CRY

This competent biography of California senator Feinstein, who in November will be up for reelection, hews to the new archetype in political drama: It's the tale of the child who triumphs over the dysfunctions of family life and grows up to become an influential public figure. Roberts, editorial page editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, offers a tepid round-up of Feinstein's life and career. He sketches Feinstein's parents, a successful doctor and an abusive mother, and suggests that in childhood Feinstein learned to transform emotional pain into ambition. After Stanford, Dianne Goldman returned home to San Francisco in 1956, began learning politics, and eloped with lawyer Jack Berman. Divorced within three years, she raised a daughter, developed her political profile as a member of the state parole board for women, and found lasting love with neurosurgeon Bert Feinstein. In 1969, she won election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, casting her crusade—as throughout her career, the author notes aptly—``in terms that threatened neither men nor the status quo.'' Insecure and imperious, Democrat Feinstein gained a reputation as a ``paradoxical liberal'' (most notably by abandoning her opposition to the death penalty). In 1978 her husband died, San Francisco was rocked by the Jonestown tragedy, and Supervisor Dan White assassinated Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Feinstein became acting mayor, and her stewardship lasted nine years, earning her a national reputation. She lost the 1990 race for governor to Pete Wilson but rebounded in 1992, when she was elected to fill out Wilson's uncompleted Senate term. She won on the strength of her campaign style, big spending, and the postAnita Hill ``Year of the Woman'' campaign of the Democratic National Committee. Though Feinstein once aspired to be president, she now says the Senate's high enough. Indeed, this book, though mainly respectful, should not garner her new acolytes. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) ($50,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-258508-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1994

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

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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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