A rapturous operating manual for the soul.

THE ORIGINAL INSTRUCTIONS

REFLECTIONS OF AN ELDER ON THE TEACHINGS OF THE ELDERS, ADAPTING ANCIENT WISDOM TO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Native American spirituality is the cure for what ails humanity, according to this rhapsodic New Age manifesto.

Mankind went wrong, argues Manitonquat, a Wampanoag poet, editor and counselor, at the first stirrings of civilization when we learned to exploit plants and animals instead of revere them, and to live in big cities instead of little bands. The result is a present-day culture stewing in violence, inequality, sexism, environmental devastation and global warming, one that “plunders everything, robs, rapes, pillages and murders its own and every other species, becoming madder, more enraged and more insane with every passing year.” Fortunately, he writes, we can regain sanity by recalling the “original instructions” the Creator meant us to obey, which are still remembered by the elders of the First Nations (the author, having seen 80 winters, is one). The central injunction is to abjure puritanical notions of sin and damnation and to cultivate a respectful awareness that “all of Creation is sacred and holy.” (And that, Manitonquat insists, means all of Creation, from the stars up above to head lice, intestinal parasites and Osama bin Laden). Further instructions comprise a catalogue of virtues: honesty, humility, generosity and hospitality; a keen appreciation for beauty (vultures and maggots included); the courage to oppose injustice; a childlike curiosity and playfulness. The comforting—and challenging—message is that we can heal the wounds of modernity if we turn away from greed, materialism and arrogant self-importance, commune with the Earth and cultivate an intimate connectedness to each other. Manitonquat’s prose has a sonorous, liturgical tone and rhythm, but it’s shot through with passages of lyrical nature writing (“there is an endless song here, made of wind, cries of sea birds, and the incessant crumbling rollers of the Atlantic roughly caressing the level sands”), indigenous folk stories, child-rearing tips, discussions of hominid evolution and bawdy jokes. His is a soaring spiritual vision that nevertheless remains rooted in the soil of everyday experience.

A rapturous operating manual for the soul.

Pub Date: June 29, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4389-8079-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2010

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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