TRIBES

HOW RACE, RELIGION, AND FAMILY DETERMINE SUCCESS IN THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMY

While the world is shrinking in many ways, globally dispersed ethnic groups—according to this provocative account by Kotkin (West Coast editor of Inc.; coauthor, The Third Century, 1988, etc.)—are playing pivotal roles in shaping its economic future. Kotkin argues persuasively that the collapse of communism could diminish the importance of nation-states and accelerate the renaissance of interest in geographic as well as racial roots. In the meantime, he surveys five ubiquitous peoples—the British, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, and Jews—who have made substantive commercial/cultural marks beyond their homelands. Although these transnational tribes have vastly different pasts, Kotkin contends that they share certain adaptive attributes, including open- mindedness, a passion for technical knowledge, bedrock behavioral values, and a sense of mutual dependence that helps them adjust to sociopolitical or economic change without significant loss of unity. Drawing largely on historical narratives and statistical data, Kotkin documents how the English built a great empire by putting profit ahead of grandeur, while enterprising Indians, unable to flourish on a caste-ridden subcontinent, prospered elsewhere in apparel, diamonds, entertainment, finance, and other niche markets where Jews still rank among the more conspicuous successes. He goes on to note that Japan's salarymen (the first Asians to embrace Western technology) retain close ties to home when working abroad. By contrast, the author points out, the far- flung network of overseas Chinese has no fixed point of national origin. Toward the close, Kotkin assesses which other ``tribes'' may gain business influence and power. Among the possibilities are America's Mormons, Armenians, Egyptians, Koreans, Lebanese, and Palestinians—all of whom, the author concludes, could oblige the world to discard outdated notions of melting-pot homogeneity in favor of a modus vivendi that amounts to peaceful coexistence. A challenging analysis of how the world really works.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-41282-4

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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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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