A multifaceted encounter with historical, spiritual, and personal worlds.



A debut book mixes an autobiographical account with a paranormal investigation of a property in rural Virginia.

The story begins with Miller’s decision to buy a house in a part of Virginia known as Clover Hollow. He was returning from a trip to the Coral Sea when he made the purchase sight unseen. Upon his arrival in Virginia, he was pleased with the risk he had taken, explaining how he discovered it was “a beautiful country house with a wrap around covered porch.” More than mere beauty, the house had a profound effect on him, giving him the feeling that “Earth’s natural energy” was emanating from the area. Moreover, the author soon learned that the house had once been owned by his forbears, and an old Native American trail cut across his property. Add into the equation odd-looking rocks and “bizarre supernatural activity,” and the question became what, if anything, did it all mean? As Miller believes that “there are no coincidences, everything happens for a reason, and everything is connected,” he proceeds to make his point with a combination of American history, views on extraterrestrials and ancient cultures, and stories of his personal experiences. The resulting stew provides a lot for the reader to savor. While accounts of Colonial Americans can be dry (“John Miller Sr, brother of Barbara Miller and uncle and friend of Jacob Mann Jr, also crossed over the mountains and settled on Indian Creek around 1775”), the many details of the author’s life add up to a strangely intimate portrait. From his childhood spent exploring caves to his earning money as an Uber driver, the work shows readers a man who seeks to understand the strangeness of his own past and property. Although evocations of figures like the Japanese author Masaru Emoto may fall flat with skeptics, the book illuminates the journey of one man dating back to the arrival of his ancestors in the New World. While Miller admits his ultimate conclusions are “very controversial,” they make for an imaginative attempt to explain the unexplainable.

A multifaceted encounter with historical, spiritual, and personal worlds.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9907777-1-7

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Blue Heron

Review Posted Online: March 30, 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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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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