LOITERING WITH INTENT

THE EARLY YEARS

Really elided first volume of O'Toole's autobiography. Those hot for chat about the star's great films (Lawrence of Arabia, etc.) and the great actors and drinkers with whom he has worked and busted up the world must wait for the next installment. Born in 1932 in (perhaps) Ireland (a fact counterfacted by there being an English as well as an Irish birth record), and raised as a native of the now vanished (he says) town of Hunsbeck in Yorkshire, O'Toole writes in a lingual ecstasy whose charms will enfroth many and will often have readers untangling congested diction, including baby talk much like Joyce's in his portrait of the artist as a young moo-cow and a striving for hip underclass lyricism of a richness much like Dylan Thomas's brush-work on the fey folk of Under Milk Wood (O'Toole played Captain Cat in the film version). One must go with O'Toole and his inner merriment; at times, he strikes off an engaging passage for which his mannered voice fits the action. Less happily, O'Toole sandbags us with a halfpenny life of Adolf Hitler as seen through the eyes of Childe Peter—a third of the book! All right, Hitler loomed large, but O'Toole's Adolf is both a boy's reaction to newsreel Nazis (``Childhood meant war, barbed wire...'') and a skim from standard Hitler bios. Better moments include his tour in the Royal Navy (``My sea had been black; black and grey with great lumps of roaring white water crashing over our bows to rush swilling along the lurching deck. Often I had stood, gloved hands gripping a rail or a stanchion, just gazing, awed by this immense world of black and brutal water''), and his rather pastel auditions for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Too, his sporting dad's life as a bookie, thumbed onto the page with large gobs of paint, looms big in his limericky dashabout high jinks. High lumpen. Wordsman, be spare. (Photographs.)

Pub Date: April 5, 1993

ISBN: 1-56282-823-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1993

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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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