Chicken soup for the patriot soul.

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A HIGHER PURPOSE

THE MORAL EQUIVALENT OF WAR

A scholar proposes refocusing the Preamble to the Constitution to restore Americans’ shared purpose, reduce political polarization, and reverse the erosion of U.S. leadership.

In his latest book, Cheshire (The Indomitable Freedom Quest, 2016, etc.) invokes philosopher William James, whose 1910 essay “The Moral Equivalent of War” considered how to sustain political unity absent a conflict or a credible threat. The author finds his answer in the Preamble to the Constitution, which he deems America’s mission statement and strategic plan. Contending that Americans have become “historically and functionally illiterate” about the Preamble’s purpose and meaning, he dissects its 10 constituent phrases—“We the People,” “A More Perfect Union,” etc.—devoting a chapter to each. His ruminations traverse disciplines and the ages, spanning the Book of Exodus, Gottfried von Leibniz, and Stephen Hawking in a few paragraphs. Emulating Einstein’s E=mc2, Cheshire introduces a leadership equation, I=am2 (impetus equals action times momentum squared). “In short, it stands for ‘We’ instead of ‘Me,’ ” he explains. The former university president co-founded the Promise America Alliance to promote the Preamble’s goals and envisages a Promise America Report, “an annual accounting of the national condition.” Unlike the metaphorical I=am2, this metric would presumably involve real numbers. Unfortunately, he does not detail how domestic tranquility or justice for all might be quantified. Cheshire’s writing is erudite but generally easy to read and occasionally lyrical: “But this momentum must arise from its roots in the Preamble to grow fulsomely into a strong standing tree of life for all that would seek the sustenance of its shadow and shade.” He effortlessly marries scientific vernacular with traditional concepts, as when he discusses “organizational DNA.” He cites the failure of political leaders to honor their constitutional oaths as America’s greatest threat, but his aspiration that media-savvy politicians skilled in manipulating language can be brought to heel by the Preamble’s words seems quaint. This essentially “eat your vegetables” message may leave many readers wondering whether his tonic is too mild (or too late) for America’s advanced stages of polarization and tribalism. Still, the author’s inspired and informed reflections on the nation’s founding principles certainly can do no harm.

Chicken soup for the patriot soul.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-975643-75-1

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Hamilton House Publications, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2018

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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