ANGELS AND ALIENS

UFOS AND THE MYTHIC IMAGINATION

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! A plane! A UFO! An angel! It's all of this and more, according to free-lancer Thompson (New Age magazine, etc.), whose debut book champions the view that flying saucers have soared to earth from ``mythic horizons and imaginal realms,'' and that the public's fascination with these pixilated objects is really ``a religious search to recover lost intimacy.'' As Thompson observes, most ufologists fall into two camps- -those who identify UFOs as alien spacecraft, and those who see them as psychic constructions. Thompson tries to straddle the divide—he says that UFOs may yet turn out to be technological hardware—but clearly his sympathies lie with those who consider saucers to be ``an idea at work in the world soul.'' As a result, the authorities he cites are usually psychologists or New Age-y scientists (Jung, Bateson) rather than engineers or private eyes. The argument zips along—this is great fun to read—but suffers from forced parallels (for instance, between UFOs and angels, an equation that glosses over the tawdriness of the former, the numinous nature of the latter) and awkward mythological explanations (UFOs as Proteus incarnate). Of much greater value is Thompson's exciting history of ufology, from the first modern sightings in 1947 through Whitley Strieber's bestselling confessions of the late 1980's. With stronger focus, this might have been the definitive story; instead, it is the first to trace all major strands in UFO research with intelligent, if sometimes wispy, analysis. Great for UFO buffs. Others will find the New Age stance weird, but, then again, as Thompson says, ``we're talking about UFOs after all. Nothing could be stranger....''

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 1991

ISBN: 0-201-55084-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

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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

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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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