A short, thoughtful, and informative book about adoption and faith.

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GIVEN UP

Debut author Bailey recounts her quest to discover her birth family in this Christian-oriented adoption memoir.

The author was born in Ottawa in 1948 to an unmarried woman. After six weeks with her birth mother, she was adopted by Margaret and Gerald Johnston and raised alongside their 7-year-old biological son, Joe. In this book, she recounts the peculiar experience of growing up knowing that she was adopted and the tensions and fears she had as a result. For example, she grew up attributing her parents’ treatment of her—both good and bad—to the fact that she was adopted, and she was afraid that they might return her to an orphanage if she failed to live up to their expectations: “I was trying to second guess my situation because of the adoption, when I should have been just growing up and acting out like any other child,” Bailey writes. When a hysterectomy at age 30 rendered the author unable to have children of her own, she realized that her only hope of knowing a blood relative was to seek out her birth family. With the help of an organization called Parent Finders, she began a search that involved a number of false starts and disappointments, but it eventually helped her to shed light on the person that she truly was. In addition to providing her own narrative, Bailey explores the logistics and practices of adoption from the 1940s to the present day. At less than 150 pages, this work is a quick read. Although the overall pace of the narrative is inconsistent at times, Bailey shows herself to be a capable writer who effectively conveys the emotional weight of her memories. Bailey’s religiosity, while present, is never overbearing; her belief in miracles appears to have been informed, at least in part, by her adoption experience. Readers interested in stories of adoption from a personal perspective, and particularly those with a religious bent, will find much to enjoy in this affecting account.

A short, thoughtful, and informative book about adoption and faith.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5437-7

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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