SOLDIERS

A HISTORY OF MEN IN BATTLE

A companion piece to an upcoming BBC TV series of the same title from the authors of, respectively, Six Armies in Normandy and Acts of War. The profusely and imaginatively illustrated text represents a contribution to the bloody, hellish history of war, primarily for its compassionate appreciation of the battlefield experience. Keegan and Holmes (both members of the Sandhurst faculty) eschew a strictly chronological approach, canvassing instead the evolution of weapons and their users. According to the authors, soldiers—warriors who fight for pay—"are comparative latecomers to the field of human conflict." Among the survivors of this exacting trade, they point to the infantryman whose ancestry includes Mesopotamian spear carriers, Roman legionnaires, French poilus, and American GIs. Foot soldiers have endured down through the ages to fight in Vietnam, the Falklands, and Afghanistan. Their mounted counterparts, Keegan and Holmes show, have proved more vulnerable. Horsemen dominated the world's battlegrounds for many centuries, and Russia's Marshal Koniev had six divisions under his command during the final stages of WW II. But muskets, then cannon and machine guns have long since limited cavalry's role. Eventually, tankers became the military's mobile strike force; in turn, however, their tactical utility has been curbed by the march of technology which produced fragmentation warheads "dispensed by aerial bomb, missile, and artillery shell." In the meantime, the already lethal state of the ordnance art has advanced to the point where latter-day gunners can deliver nuclear as well as high-explosive payloads at intercontinental range, Also covered are the routinely courageous exploits of airmen and combat engineers—"the stagehands of the theatre of operations, without whose brave and laborious efforts armies could scarcely find the means to come to grips with each other." Nor do Keegan and Holmes scant the contributions of rear-echelon supply specialists who attend to logistics and of commanders whose awful responsibility it is to be both wise and bold in the expenditure of life. In addition to detailing the many ways in which man has done battle, the authors bear constant witness to the high price of armed conflict. Their humane regard for both victims and victors is explicit in a separate chapter on casualties, which tells graphic terms just how dreams of glory can end in gore. A thoughtful, focused study of warfare, brimful of front-line insights and intelligence.

Pub Date: March 1, 1986

ISBN: 1568521103

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1986

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?

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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

Did you like this book?

more