An informative if also dry history of Israeli diplomacy from the state’s founding through early 1998, combined with elements of a memoir. Raviv, a senior Israeli diplomat for over 40 years (he was political secretary to then Foreign Minister Abba Eban during and after the Six Day War and ambassador to Great Britain for much of the 1990s), states at the outset that his is “not a scholarly account,” but rather “a record of close observation and personal analysis.” At times his writing is overly cursory; only about 70 pages are devoted to the 14 particularly tumultuous years between the Lebanon War and the election of Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. Raviv is best in focusing on the details of diplomatic initiatives and contretemps around Israel’s five major wars (1948—48, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982). Yet while his book is solidly workmanlike, it lacks the kind of vivid background information and colorful anecdotes found in such books as those by Eban himself, or in Uri Savir’s recent account of the negotiations leading to the 1993 lsrae-PLO Oslo accord. An exception is aspects of the British-Israeli relationship, many of whose major players Raviv came to know well from his many years of service in London. This work also is marred by some sloppy editing, though some instances may be due to the volume’s British provenance; for example, the late Republican New York senator Jacob Javits is strangely referred to, in a transliteration from the Hebrew, as Yacov Yavetz. Raviv covers all the major bases, so that readers unfamiliar with Israel’s immensely complex foreign policy history will learn a great deal—but they probably will not have as interesting or memorable an experience as that provided by a number of other Israeli historians and memoirists.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-297-81851-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998

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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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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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