This slim debut volume offers brief, easy-to-digest summaries of major religious belief systems.
Guiteau asserts that one question has perplexed humans since the dawn of time: “[W]hy are we here, who put us here and what happens next?” In short but sweeping chapters, he outlines the basic worldviews of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Guiteau’s prose is clear and simple, and his book assumes no knowledge of the subjects, as if it were a primer offering students their first glimpses into the study of world religions. “God appeared to a man named Abram,” he writes in the chapter on Judaism, going on to explain how Abram’s descendants spent many years in the “Promised Land,” but were later enslaved in Egypt before God intervened. In his chapter on Christianity, Guiteau focuses on Jesus’ adult ministry, and how he emphasized love and compassion. The author focuses on the religions’ commonalities, noting, for instance, that Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, like Jesus, had few followers at the beginning of his ministry and suffered ridicule. Of Hinduism, Guiteau notes that the Swami Vivekananda quoted from the New Testament’s book of Matthew: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Although it’s admirable that the author is determined to present such a concise view of world religions, this strategy occasionally provides challenges, as when he writes vaguely of Taoism: “Dao (the way) is difficult to explain in words. It is beyond human comprehension.” The book is largely objective in tone, although a chapter on Islam cautions readers against painting all Muslims as terrorists in the wake of 9/11—a warning that such an evenhanded work doesn’t really need. Overall, however, Guiteau succeeds in hitting the highlights of the major faiths, and his book is a good starting point for those wanting to learn more about what unites and separates them.
An accessible introduction to the study of world religions.
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").
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)