THE LOOK OF THINGS

Berger is a Marxist critic who so far eludes sectarian expectations that his writing seems closer in temper to the tradition of Ruskin and Pater — that is to say, a tradition of fine writing suffused with self and appreciation. These essays — on artists, genres, specific cases in many spheres of culture and the arts — appear to have been produced over a fairly long period. One supposes anyway that his discussion, say, of Leger as epic-painter-of-means-of-production, would have preceded an extremely percipient piece on Walter Benjamin, a neglected, profoundly original writer whose ways of conceiving of art in history seem to have influenced Berger's own. Like Benjamin, Berger is never mechanically socio-historical; rather he focuses on the dimension of consciousness that is represented by style — style as a fundamental, certainly legitimate element of communication, as in a brief, brilliant analysis of the Marxian rhetoric of the Eighteenth Brumaire; style as a personal achievement (as in a series of testaments to lives outside the capitalist fold) which alters qualitatively with acceptance and absorption into the cultural trust; stylistic possibility as a measure of general imaginative Lebensraum. Media and genres are treated correspondingly, e.g., the different contingencies of portraiture and photographs. Berger's own mobile, epigrammatically precise style is a proper vehicle for these forays beyond interpretation, though sometimes too it tempts him to make more than necessary of local errands ("At the Zoo"). Whether you see that as a failing depends on your point of view. Diversely rewarding.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1974

ISBN: 0670439878

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1974

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more