An affecting faith memoir filled with inviting personal anecdotes.


One man’s account of his spiritual journey from confusion to a peaceful Christianity.

In his nonfiction debut, McAndrew looks back on the beginning of his spiritual journey, decades ago, when he was feeling a bit burnt out at the restaurant where he worked. Frazzled by his temperamental managers and spurred by a shocking tragedy that happened one night, he began what would become a lifelong search to understand “the invisible matrix of life that is God.” He increasingly interrogated the worldly assumptions of his life, guided by a new openness to put aside the doubts of the world and do as the Holy Spirit calls Christians to do: “walk out on the Sea of Life.” In order to do so, McAndrew writes, “we must let go of our doubts and fears, and trust the infinite oneness.” McAndrew describes this slow, sometimes-grudging process of growing spiritual freedom with a moving directness, relating family anecdotes involving his wife, Yvonne, and his wise-beyond-her-years daughter, Shavonne, with the flair of a novelist. All of it is meant to illustrate the familiar modern Christian adage, “When you get to your wit’s end, you will find God lives there.” McAndrew puts it simply, “That’s what happened to me.” The book’s confessional strengths are only slightly offset by its exegetical weaknesses. McAndrew writes, for instance, that in Genesis, “the primordial substance of the universe is light,” when the biblical text clearly states otherwise, or when he contends that a study of St. Peter’s words and actions shows that “trust in Spirit developed over time,” when precisely the opposite is the point of his sudden awakening on the night of Jesus’ arrest. But such quibbles don’t much distract from McAndrew’s larger message of surrendering worldly vanity to “the harmony of the Kingdom”; the book will provide younger Christians especially with an appealingly personal and spiritual version of the faith.

An affecting faith memoir filled with inviting personal anecdotes.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4602-2502-8

Page Count: 184

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2017

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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