THE CHAIN GANG

ONE NEWSPAPER VERSUS THE GANNETT EMPIRE

More than a straight David-and-Goliath tale of nobility over force, this book blends detective story, drama, and strong research to create a riveting newspaper yarn and an unrelenting indictment of the seemingly boundless Gannett newspaper empire. Recalling his personal efforts in saving his own Santa Fe Reporter and his colleague's Green Bay News-Chronicle from extinction by the monopolizing tactics of Gannett newspapers, journalist McCord paints a portrait of an unethical corporation interested only in increasing profits and destroying the competition. In ample instances of dubious business practices throughout the country, Gannett operatives known as Dobermans wage demolition campaigns of innuendo, and use strong-arm tactics and sweetheart deals to bleed papers dry and put them out of business—hardly the cordial competition that Gannett claimed to engage in. McCord also knows how to tell his story: He skillfully moves between flashbacks and tight time-bound narrative, the former for weaving through the past 25 years of Gannett tactics, the latter for building tension during a circumscribed period, like the three days he spent in an Oregon judge's office illegally copying a confidential file that first proved Gannett's monopolistic practices. Despite the controlled storytelling and research, it is the character of McCord that carries the reader. Middle-aged, opinionated, constantly questioning why he embarked on ``The Green Bay Project'' and vacillating between feeling like a savior and a hired gun, he embodies the mix of ideals, rigidity, and relentlessness common to lone crusaders. His attempts to comprehend his colleague Frank Wood, who lured him into trying to save the Green Bay News-Chronicle, offer insights into the nature of friendship. For a firsthand look at how media corporations decimate the local newspapers that once reflected a town's character, this book could become a standard. (illustrations not seen)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8262-1064-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Univ. of Missouri

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more