A fully unbalanced, Manichean spin from the left on the icon of the right: vigorous, long and funny.

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SWEET JESUS, I HATE BILL O’REILLY

Heavily armed with evidence of the vaunted Fox broadcaster’s mendacious ineptitude, a pair of satirists depicts O’Reilly as a threat to the nation’s sanity.

Al Franken, of course, initiated the current art form of dissing right-wing megalomaniacs, and we hope he’s pleased. Franken acolytes Amann and Breuer gleefully assail O’Reilly; beat him soundly about the head and shoulders; and keep on kicking him when he’s down. They are relentless and can’t seem to stop belaboring the fun that began with a website (sweetjesusihatebilloreilly.com). Though they couch it as an intervention (“Dear Bill, We’ve written this book because we care about you”), it’s mostly a sophomoric lark for liberals. Transcripts of his broadcasts and extracts from his books show O’Reilly, the perpetually outraged talking, ranting head, to be congenitally unfair and patently unbalanced. According to this indictment, he’s a finger-flipping moron, a feces-tossing sociopath and a runway model for the straitjacket. The authors’ proofs include O’Reilly’s diatribes on the estate tax, his calls for national boycotts and his holy war against Hillary, the New York Times and all the evil elite. O’Reilly isn’t above phony citations (Amann and Breuer follow his lead with their own bootless footnotes) or claiming that Hitler would have joined the ACLU. The authors examine these nuggets of nuttiness, including the splenetic loon’s written works. Not scanted, naturally, is Bill’s phone-sex escapade. Based on his take on how Katrina should have been handled, Amann and Breuer briefly imagine O’Reilly as president. They call him everything but a poopy-head in this total takeover of the get-O’Reilly franchise. Though unlikely to provoke general riots, the book may well spark a feisty reaction from the no-spin Irishman. The authors append a list of organizations that deserve contributions for having provoked Bill’s ire and the script of “Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O’Reilly: The Musical.”

A fully unbalanced, Manichean spin from the left on the icon of the right: vigorous, long and funny.

Pub Date: May 10, 2006

ISBN: 1-56025-881-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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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

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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