IL DUCE'S OTHER WOMAN

A dry but well-informed account of the woman behind Mussolini's rise to power, by Cannistraro (History and Politics/Drexel University) and Sullivan (Senior Fellow/National Defense University). Margherita Sarfatti, an art critic and daughter of an influential Venetian Jewish family, was, according to the authors, a Svengali figure to the rough-hewn Mussolini. Beginning her affair with the future dictator (``My absurd lover, tyrannical and adored!'') in 1911, she became known as his ``inspiratrice,'' directing his reading (Proudhon and Machiavelli, among others), bolstering his belief in his greatness, and helping him to mold his vision of a new Roman Empire. Though an ardent socialist, Sarfatti supported Italian involvement in WW I, an action that got her expelled from the Socialist Party. After the war, she and Mussolini worked together to forge the Fascist Party from two unlikely allies, the nationalists and socialists, and watched their creation grow to power, nourished by conditions of mass unemployment, street-fighting, and demagoguery given credibility by electoral success. Sarfatti, the authors contend, had ``a far more flexible and inventive political imagination'' than Mussolini, and she was a central figure during these formative years—yet her affair with the dictator, and her influence, waned during the early 30's. In 1938, in the face of Il Duce's growing anti-Semitism, Sarfatti fled to Argentina with two suitcases full of jewels and modern art, treasures that she later parlayed into a position as one of the most important art collectors of the mid-century. She died in Italy in 1961. The authors devote too much space to Sarfatti's career as an art critic and promoter of Italian-American ties; still, hers is a remarkable, sometimes tragic, tale. (Photos.)

Pub Date: March 19, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-06299-7

Page Count: 550

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

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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