A heartfelt message about one man’s embrace of Christianity.

"Who Are You, Lord?"

FOOTPATHS BEYOND A STREET CALLED STRAIGHT

Debut author Luther offers a memoir that’s also a collection of meditations on popular Christian topics.

As the author explains in the introduction, “I am now, at age forty-five, a man who loves God above all else, because I am above all else loved by him.” In the pages that follow, he tells of his time as a “raging alcoholic” and his eventual redemption through steady prayer and belief. He divides his sentiments into chapters with titles such as “Love,” “Forgiveness,” and “Trust,” incorporating frequent biblical quotes and prayers as well as the sentiments of other writers, such as C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot. The book overflows with earnest guidance for the weary soul, aiming toward a simplicity backed by personal experience. The author asserts what it means to be Christian quite clearly: “living a life spent pursuing intimate, daily fellowship with Jesus Christ.” Addressing whether human suffering is an expression of God’s anger, he assures readers that “Trouble and hard times are not God punishing us.” Love is paramount, he says: “Get out in the world and go love somebody; be the hands and feet of Jesus,” he urges, later noting that “Nobody is beyond God’s desire to love or his ability to use them.” But although the author incorporates elements of his struggle with addiction, they’re too often vague, as in an allusion to his continuing problem with “lesser” vices that don’t involve drugs or alcohol; for example, does “sleeping too much” truly complicate one’s commitment to a Christian life? The author does tell one story of a low point that helps humanize his experience: a recovering-alcoholic friend found him drinking in his car when he should have been at work. More moments like these might have better illuminated this unique tale. Still, the author avoids any sort of holier-than-thou tone in this book, allowing it to offer a truly inspiring message. If turning to prayer could work for a man who experienced such a “series of ‘Rock Bottom’ moments,” readers may think, perhaps it could work for anyone. 

A heartfelt message about one man’s embrace of Christianity.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-2092-1

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2016

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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