Richly populated with fascinating northlanders, Native Americans, and many border patrol agents, this is highly entertaining...

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NORTHLAND

A 4,000-MILE JOURNEY ALONG AMERICA'S FORGOTTEN BORDER

The life and times of America’s other border.

The southern border of the United States gets all the attention, but it’s barely half as long as the northern border; its story is “a tale of early mistakes, and more than two centuries of fixes.” Fox (Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow, 2013), a Maine native (he now lives in New York) and editor of the travel journal Nowhere, took a coast-to-coast, two-year journey weaving in and out of a boundary that, “on paper, looks like a discarded thread—twisted and kinked in parts, tight as a bowstring in others,” to see it firsthand and to recount its rich history. He didn’t make an itinerary: “I packed a canoe, tent, maps, and books and headed for the line.” He began one chilly October morning in Lubec, America’s easternmost border town near Passamaquoddy Bay. In June 1604, writes the author, Frenchman Samuel de Champlain entered the bay with two large boats and a crew of 150 to begin his own exploring. Throughout, Fox chronicles in detail Champlain’s adventures, good and bad, as well as those of many other explorers and adventurers from the border’s past. This gives the book an added richness, providing helpful historical context to the places the author visits. Early on, Fox’s trip almost ended when he nearly capsized a small outboard boat in high waves in below-freezing Sandy Bay. He recounts that in 1775, the Continental army attempted a doomed invasion of Canada, and in the 1920s and ’30s, a U.S. planning committee even “drew up plans to seize Canada.” In Montreal, Fox hitched a ride on a “moving skyscraper,” the freighter Equinox, as he traversed the Great Lakes. In eastern North Dakota, he got caught up in Indian protests over the oil pipeline.

Richly populated with fascinating northlanders, Native Americans, and many border patrol agents, this is highly entertaining and informative travel literature.

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-393-24885-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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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