Funny stuff with both a point and a perspective.



An often funny, politically provocative illumination of the Constitution, a document that all politicians and most Americans revere without really understanding its contents or origins.

Even as revised by the Emmy-winning Bleyer, there is no provision in the Constitution mandating that anyone who has ever been associated with The Daily Show be given a book deal. If there were, this would still be one of the better ones to emerge from that publishing tribe. Bleyer makes readers think as well as laugh, and he targets those with the attention span for book-length arguments rather than TV bits. As he writes of the Constitution, “For two centuries, we have been expected to abide by it, live by it, swear by it—some of us, officially—yet we have no idea what it says.” Bleyer demonstrates that the Constitution is a document that generated heated controversy during its drafting, in its attempts to strike compromises on such crucial issues as the relative powers of federal and state governments, the checks and balances that the three branches would exert on each other and the danger that a chief executive might come to resemble the king that the colonies had fought for against their freedom. “From page one, the Constitution is, by its own admission, a compromise,” writes Bleyer of the document accorded an almost biblical level of secular authority. “I’m not suggesting there’s something inherently wrong in compromise. I’m saying it. I’m screaming it to the rooftops. We’re America, dang it.” Yet even its framers considered the Constitution sufficiently flawed that they immediately amended it with the Bill of Rights, which Bleyer terms “a signing bonus. A bribe. The constitutional equivalent of a set of steak knives to sweeten the deal on a new bank account.” Among the radical suggestions in Bleyer’s revision is to make every citizen a member of Congress, since, as it stands, “Con-gress is the opposite of pro-gress.”

Funny stuff with both a point and a perspective.

Pub Date: May 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6935-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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



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?



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?