A graceful and effortless perusal of 1500 years of English history, social habits, law and politics by the former editor of the New Statesman. Now that the sun has set forever on that far-flung Empire many Britons are looking inward and back toward the indigenous traditions and cultural styles which evolved through centuries of insular development. Johnson too is something of a splendid isolationist and taking the long view he sees the Empire as a brief efflorescence of power and vanity which actually cramped and retarded various aspects of English domestic life — notably industry and education which the Empire-builders of the 19th century neglected at great cost. The English, says Johnson, have always resisted innovation, largely immune to the violent upheavals and excesses of the Continent — no race on earth has such a passionate regard for public order — and from the days of the Saxon invasion and the Norman Conquest they have been proud of their customary backward posture, moving into the future with their eyes firmly fixed on an imaginary past. The preference for stability over change has been their strength, but also their fatal flaw; today both Labour and the Conservatives are guilty of hesitant obscurantist, incompetent, anti-progressive policies. A more startling allegation is Johnson's charge of xenophobia; foreigners, especially the French, have characteristically been treated with suspicion — from the middle of the twelfth century until the middle of the nineteenth, the external history of England is very largely the history of Anglo-French enmity. And Ireland alone refutes any theory that the English have a natural capacity for governing other races. But despite this firm back-of-the-hand to national stereotypes, Johnson has a great affection for the slow moving, genial islanders and their unique capacity to muddle through.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1972

ISBN: 0030013917

Page Count: -

Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1972

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



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

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