A fundamentally conservative work that only partially succeeds in finding common ground with the Christian left.



A timely discussion of the relationship between Christianity and contemporary U.S. politics.

Noting the mounting tensions inside American churches over politics, Kinton (Descending Mount Sinai, 2017, etc.) endeavors to provide Christians with a guidebook on how to unite conservatives and liberals within the Church without compromising fundamentals of the faith. Urging Christians to avoid the hot-button issues of our day, he instead calls for them to “speak on universal political truths.” By focusing on these broad issues, Kinton hopes that Christians of all political ideologies can align. His strongest chapter is a nuanced discussion of the various ways Christians have interpreted “nonviolence” and practical applications today. This chapter attempts to build not only bridges across political lines, but denominational lines as well. He brings in the perspectives of evangelicals, Jesuits, and Charismatic Christians. Other chapters touch on income inequality and racism and corresponding analyses of leading Christian thinkers (from both the right and the left of the ideological spectrum). Kinton’s efforts at finding common ground, while noble, may prove frustrating for everyone in that they don’t provide much critical assessment of either side. (This is one of the few works that favorably cites both far-right pundit Ann Coulter and black liberation theologian James Cone.) Though Kinton admirably seeks to unite the seemingly ununitable, it’s evident that he leans toward conservative evangelicalism. His chapter on prophecy concludes with a standard “End Times” narrative held to by mostly evangelicals, and his discussion on “sexual immorality” presupposes a traditional interpretation of biblical sexuality that lacks the nuance found in his discussion of nonviolence and other issues. Most glaringly given the political context that inspired the book, the author only neutrally mentions Donald Trump, while criticizing Hillary Clinton. Ironically, one uncritical reference to Trump is not only included in the chapter on sexual immorality, but comes only a page after the author alleges that liberals too often “revert to labeling and name-calling.”

A fundamentally conservative work that only partially succeeds in finding common ground with the Christian left.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-973641-58-2

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2019

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


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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