For either those well-versed in the case of Catalonian independence or for the uninitiated, an estimable addition to an...

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What's up with Catalonia?


A substantial collection of scholarly articles exploring, and defending, the prospects for Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

Castro’s debut effort, as editor of an anthology of 35 articles both investigating and advocating for Catalonian independence, is politically timely. This last September 11, Catalonia’s National Day, a colossal gathering of 1.5 million protesters filled the streets of Barcelona demanding independence from Spain. That’s a historically impressive turnout but even more astounding when one considers that it’s one-fifth of Catalonia’s population. The essays are largely written by professional academics, though a few are written by European diplomats. Most are very brief, some only a few pages long, and none exceeds 10 pages. Thematically, this is a broad and diverse assemblage of treatments evaluating the possible economic, political, cultural and educational ramifications of Catalonia’s secession from Spain. Acknowledging that Catalan cultural identity is closely tied to its unique language, the book has five articles devoted to Catalonian linguistic heritage. A sense of cultural defense enlivens the collection, as Catalonian president Artur Mas avers in his introduction to the volume: “We find that we contribute a huge amount, too much even, and though we help as much as we can, we are neither understood nor respected for who we are.” Along these lines, many of the articles take up the cause of Catalonian sovereignty as a matter of national self-determination. Other contributors interpret independence as a political issue or as Josep M. Muñoz puts it, they are animated by “motives” that are “more democratic than nationalist.” The essays amassed are lively, lucid and provocatively puckish, as well as edifying. While some intellectual diversity is gained by including contributions from outside Catalonia (there are articles cataloging the view from Scotland, Brussels and the U.S.), the book would have benefited from at least one or two pieces making the case against independence. This omission makes the work as a whole more activist than strictly philosophical. Also, the rhetoric hurled against the purportedly despotic Spain sometimes verges on hyperventilated; Elisenda Paluzie accuses the nation of “domination” and “treachery.” Still, this collection is packed with a college course’s worth of interesting information.

For either those well-versed in the case of Catalonian independence or for the uninitiated, an estimable addition to an increasingly tempestuous debate. 

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1611500325

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Catalonia Press

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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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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