Wonderfully evoked natural scenes and portraits of hunters from a free-lance writer. Fergus was 39 when he developed a ``strange, overpowering obsession with bird hunting''—which he hadn't thought about since he was a boy—and came home with a shotgun and a yellow Labrador puppy, Sweetzer, named after a mountain ridge in Idaho, where Fergus and his wife lived. Once Sweetzer and Fergus learned the fundamentals, the author decided they would attempt to hunt as many bird species in different habitats as is possible in a season. Thereupon hangs Fergus's picaresque tale, in which he and Sweetzer cover 17,000 miles in five months, from stalking chukar partridges on rocky Montana mountainsides to shooting snipe in the steamy Mobile delta. Fergus paints wonderful portraits of his hunting companions—from novelists Richard Ford and Robert F. Jones to Florida blue-bloods, from dirt farmers who gladly stop their work to take Fergus and Sweetzer on a quick grouse hunt to ``slob'' hunters who ride the roads drinking beer and shooting birds on the ground. The dogs here are also all memorable personalities, as befits bird hunters' closest partners. To his credit, Fergus presents the current antihunting arguments and talks them over with leading bird biologists; most contend that habitat loss, rather then hunting pressure, has been responsible for the declines in bird populations. Among his adventures, Fergus goes on several organized hunts in preserves (one with a group of grim big-city detectives, who blow every bird to shreds) and laments that so much habitat in the US is becoming privatized—a situation long extant in Europe, where bird hunting is an exclusive pursuit of the rich. A top-notch dog-and-gun-book, with sympathetic focus on humans and animals as well as some fine nature writing.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-8050-1619-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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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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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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