VICTORY IN EUROPE

D-DAY TO VE DAY

Over PBS on May 8, the 40th anniversary of V-E Day, Americans accustomed to seeing WW II in black-and-white will have their first look at "virtually the only color films of the war in Western Europe": taken by Hollywood director George Stevens, head of a special Signal Corps unit, for his own, unofficial record. In this album, along with stills from those films—not so much scenes of combat as shots of soldiers and civilians—is a succinct and expert chronicle of events, from D-Day through the German surrender and its aftermath, by British military historian Hastings (Bomber Command. Overlord). The two elements don't fuse: we see General Leclerc and his French troops entering Paris, for instance, ten pages or so before Eisenhower makes the decision to let Leclerc take the city—probably because Stevens took a lot of footage of that dramatic event. It's a fair guess, in any case, that most readers will first look at the pictures, and only then (if ever) take in the text, with its focus on salient engagements—Normandy, the bridge at Arnhem, the Ardennes—and its battle maps. The stills are bound to mean more, too, after the PBS film showing. With a few exceptions, these are not powerful images on a par with the WW II photos of Capa and Mydans and Bourke-White and many an anonymous, black-and-white still photographer: there are lots of grinning German prisoners, cheerful French civilians, and "friendly" looking Russian soldiers (though, says the caption, they "inflicted a terrible revenge upon the German people"). Did Stevens' little movie camera perhaps elicit smiles? There is something to seeing Eisenhower and Bradley and Montgomery in living color, and the rubble of Caen and Aachen in monochrome. But visually the book has no tenor or direction, no intrinsic message: too much of it, indeed, is like souvenir photos of victory. Nonetheless the text is authoritative, and the program will be an event.

Pub Date: May 6, 1985

ISBN: 1566196086

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1985

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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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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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