An uncommon blend of military analysis and sociological history.




A scholarly analysis of the Mexican Revolution that focuses on how innovations in military economy and tactics resulted in social change.

In this second installment in a trilogy, Janssens shifts away from an examination of the defense establishment during the Mexican Revolution and tackles the consequences of the Federal Army’s thorough destruction. In response to the challenge posed by the swelling ranks of the Constitutionalists, the Federal Army staged a massive mobilization of its own, but it was ill-suited to the task. It was wedded to an 18th-century European model of an army run by an officer corps of ersatz nobility, so its large-scale recruitment degraded the overall quality of its troops and undercut its claim to superiority. By contrast, the Constitutionalists effectively built a considerable citizen army, and they had to devise an economic strategy to sustain it through the war. In short, they had to create a sophisticated fiscal policy—replete with taxations schemes, business interests, and even currency—that allowed them to compete with an army backed by a sovereign nation. Janssens is keenly interested in the social impact of the Federal Army’s demise; not only did it undermine the mystique of professional military service and replace it with a more egalitarian model, he says, but it also produced a new brand of soldier that was more entrepreneurial than aristocratic. As in the first volume, the author ably repudiates Marxist historiography that overemphasizes the American influence on the war, which he says was largely operational and tactical rather than material. Also, Janssens’ investigative research is again breathtakingly scrupulous and his defiance of prevailing opinion remains impressive. This is an academic monograph for specialists, as the arguments are far too minutely detailed and dense to be accessible to laypeople. That said, the author spectacularly succeeds in connecting the conclusion of the war to the end of a certain species of militarism. Moreover, he continues to back up his plausible claim that the Mexican Revolutionary War had wide-ranging social and economic ramifications. As a result, this bracingly original and authoritative volume is sure to become a fixture of scholarly debate.

An uncommon blend of military analysis and sociological history.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9964789-1-5

Page Count: 536

Publisher: Revolution Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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


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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