Most of this will come as no news to those familiar with, say, Malcolm Gladwell or Jaron Lanier, but Naughton’s optimism and...



So what’s the big deal with this Internet thing, anyway? Technology historian and writer Naughton (Vice President/Wolfson Coll., Cambridge; A Brief History of the Future, 2000) provides a mostly convincing answer.

Former Talking Heads frontman and author David Byrne has lately been pointing out that the Internet is a terrible thing for music and culture, largely due to the fact that it’s made it impossible to sell what can be freely stolen—beg pardon, downloaded. Naughton takes a more forgiving view, invoking the Schumpeterian notion of creative destruction, which requires…well, destruction. In the case of the Internet, part of what is being destroyed is an old economy, though, as Naughton notes, in the case of the musical economy, it could have worked out differently had the record companies not been so greedy. And part, more ominously, are old ideas of freedom and privacy: “For governments of all political stripes—from authoritarian regimes to liberal democracies—the Internet is a surveillance tool made in heaven, because much of the surveillance can be done, not by expensive and fallible human beings, but by computers.” You are your clickstream, and therein, it must be noted, as Naughton does, lie Orwellian possibilities. Along the way, the author makes good points on the history of various Internet stalwarts, not least of them Facebook, and notes how the Internet defies some of the fundamental principles of economics, especially scarcity, since the Internet is an embarrassment of riches and too-muchness, if also an engine of decentralization.

Most of this will come as no news to those familiar with, say, Malcolm Gladwell or Jaron Lanier, but Naughton’s optimism and easily worn learning makes this a pleasure to read.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62365-062-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Mobius

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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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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