A zesty lexicon of a book with a strangely connected text: "Afraid of Computers to Zenith: The Final Days of Man Before the Machines Take Over?" The artful Crichton wrote this primer/guide on his word processor, of course, instructing it to scan the text and, except in special cases, delete "software" (a word he despises). You learn many practical lessons: Buy a word processor if your needs are strictly word-processing—they're better than add-ons to computers. Always copy your disks; your back-up is your savior when you or the computer inadvertently destroy the data. Don't wait for the next-generation machine on the principle that it will be that much snazzier and cheaper; Crichton made that mistake and wasted a year. Some of the advice is funny: what to do with smart-ass kids who can instantly handle the machine you've bought, or what to do about "Widows, computer." (Crichton let his wife use his from the start, and ended up buying two.) The book does not tell you how computers work or how to fix them. That's a gain, because Crichton assures you that you shouldn't feel guilty over failure to understand machine codes or internal electronics. He also includes a beginner's guide to using an Apple II, a "Grouchy Glossary," and a couple of programs: "Mystery Writer" and "Soothsayer"—the latter, Crichton's version of how to get your computer to give you I Ching answers. That diversion is revealing of his philosophy. Computers are stupid machines, he states emphatically: they may get super-smart, but people and non-rational modes of contact and behavior (the surgeon's "touch") remain supreme. Comforting words for those who harbor computer fear—and a useful compendium altogether for those who are not the first on their block to succumb to computer wiles. . . but now, just might.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1983

ISBN: 0345317394

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1983

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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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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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