A biography that skillfully sets Bates’ work against the backdrop of the times in which she lived.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

KATHARINE LEE BATES

FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA

A biography of the multitalented woman who wrote the words to “America the Beautiful.”

Katharine Lee Bates carved herself a place in America’s cultural history by penning the majestic poem, first published in 1895, that later became the lyrics to the iconic anthem “America the Beautiful.” But as author Ponder (Hawthorne’s Early Narrative Art, 1991) convincingly shows in her similarly majestic account of Bates’ life, this poem was just one of many achievements of its creator—a woman who, through her work as a writer, teacher, and social activist, set an example of female independence in late-19th-century America. Bates was raised by her mother, as her father died within weeks of her birth in 1859. She first experienced “women’s collective power” when the widows of her hometown on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, mourned the slaying of President Abraham Lincoln by draping their black shawls around the local church to make up for an insufficient supply of mourning cloth. She took advantage of opportunities afforded women after the Civil War, graduating from Wellesley College and going on to teach literature there after studying at Oxford University in England. But she still faced blatant prejudice, as personified by a Harvard president who, at an 1899 Wellesley event, questioned why women should go to college when, in his opinion, they weren’t as intelligent as men. Ponder, a lucid writer, is particularly effective at showing how Bates’ tumultuous environment, as America transitioned from a largely rural to an industrial society, inspired her poetry and novels. She points out that the words to “America the Beautiful,” for example, percolated in Bates’ mind amid the depression of 1893 and a visit to see the glories of the Colorado Rockies. For Bates, the famous phrase “sea to shining sea” expressed the “ideal of brotherhood” that she believed would see America through the crisis. As Ponder writes, “Knowing what it was like to be marginalized and silenced, she wrote for those who had no voice, and she gave Americans a fresh and inspiring ideal of their country as an inclusive community.”

A biography that skillfully sets Bates’ work against the backdrop of the times in which she lived.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-941478-48-6

Page Count: 374

Publisher: Windy City Publishers

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more