An often beautiful, if repetitive, chronicle of youthful romance.

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DENNIS AND GREER

A LOVE STORY

A debut collection of poetically charged love letters, exchanged by the editor’s mother and her first husband in the mid-1960s. 

After Greer Dewitt died of cancer in 2015 at the age of 71, her daughter, Gould, the editor of this volume, inherited a box of letters and journals. In it, there was correspondence, dated between 1965 and 1968, between Dewitt and Dennis King, a man whom she met in Sunday school when he was 19 and she was 21. Gould had already known about King—her mother had spoken of him after her divorce in 1987 from Gould’s father—but she wasn’t aware of the full story of their rhapsodic romance. The letters trace the evolution of their relationship; in the very beginning, Dewitt was infatuated with him, but King kept his distance and withheld full commitment. They weathered long periods of separation, while maintaining an apparently tempestuous one union. Still, Dewitt was crushed when King unilaterally decided to enlist in the Marines, as it would be likely that he would be sent to Vietnam. The two married in 1966, and shortly afterward, Dewitt became pregnant but miscarried. In 1967, King was indeed sent off to war, where he was killed by a sniper the following year, and in an epilogue, Gould describes how Dewitt managed to climb out of her despair and eventually marry the editor’s father in 1977. The letters cover a full emotional range of Dewitt and King’s consuming relationship, depicting distrust and loneliness as well as euphoria. King, in particular, writes in soaring language, eschewing emotional restraint: “How is your agony?” he writes in one 1966 letter. “Does the protracted pain instill upon your heart the chrysalis of frustration that it does on mine?” (In another, he refers to her as “Blossom of all my Aprils.”) Also, the epistles provide a window into how callow youth can quickly mature thanks to life’s obligations. For readers who have no personal connection to Dewitt or King, the collection will likely seem a bit long, however, especially as many letters repeat similar sentiments.

An often beautiful, if repetitive, chronicle of youthful romance. 

Pub Date: July 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-91991-0

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Belle Reve Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2017

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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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