COMPASSION IN ACTION

SETTING OUT ON THE PATH OF SERVICE

The freewheeling author of the pop spiritual classic Be Here Now teams with fellow Hindu devotee Bush to guide inexperienced Americans on to the path of compassionate action—offering his own spiritual autobiography as testimony to the transforming power of love and social action. Ram Dass, nÇ Richard Alpert, treats his famous psychedelic experience with Timothy Leary at Harvard in the early 60's as a spiritual turning point, granting him beautiful if ephemeral visions of unity with the cosmos. The real emotional possibilities behind those visions opened up to him, he says, when he found Neem Karoli Baba, his beloved Hindu spiritual teacher, who instructed him to tell the truth and always love everyone. It apparently took Ram Dass (so named by the guru after a monkey god that is an archetypal servant of man) several decades of spiritual work on himself while exploring different forms of volunteerism to glimpse how it is possible to fuse the quest for a truly liberated awareness with compassionate work for others: ``The only thing about being with people that `brings me down,' that keeps me from resting in spacious awareness, that deflates that state of joyful equanimity, is my own mind....'' Finally, through his experience as a fund-raiser and chairperson for the Seva Foundation, Ram Dass, along with Bush, has come to isolate simple steps—presented here, and including doing what you love and starting small—that others can follow to come to their own path of service. Occasionally repetitive and simplistic but nonetheless a warmhearted and genuinely inspiring introduction to compassion as a way of life.

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Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-517-57635-X

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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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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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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