A lively perspective on globalism as it relates to currency and systems of measurement.




Marciano, best known as an illustrator and author of popular children's books (Madeline at the White House, 2011, etc.), delves into the political ramifications of the American and French revolutions on the adoption of the metric system.

The author begins with Thomas Jefferson, who had just witnessed the approval of his proposal to replace British currency with an American national currency based upon a decimal version of the Spanish dollar. “Jefferson wanted to take the radical step of dividing the coin by tenths, hundredths, and thousandths—decimal fractions,” writes Marciano. “It was a thing no other nation in the world had ever entirely achieved, not with coins or any other measure.” Tasked by Congress to tackle the broader subject of establishing a uniform system of weights and measures, Jefferson presented one but urged that it not be accepted until it was clear what would be decided in France, where leaders were discussing similar issues. Marciano explains how many different political and cultural issues converged in the question of measurement. In America, the need for a uniform national coinage was obvious, but weights and measures were fairly uniform throughout the former colonies. Not so in France, which employed as many as “250,000 different measures.” The revolutionary demand for uniform taxation and the abolition of the special privileges of the three estates (aristocracy, clergy and king) necessitated a comprehensive overhaul of measurements. The French Revolution gave birth to the metric system as we know it today, but Jefferson's hope that America and France would lead the world in jointly adopting a new universal standard of measurement has yet to be realized. However, this is not a problem. “[W]e now live in an age where the villain has become uniformity,” writes Marciano; with the advent of the digital age, measurements are now easily convertible.

A lively perspective on globalism as it relates to currency and systems of measurement.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60819-475-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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