Oermann effectively bridges the gap between the country music giants of yore and today’s stars, such as the Dixie Chicks,...

A CENTURY OF COUNTRY

AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC

Nashville-based critic Oermann, one of journalism’s best known authorities on country music, takes an ambitious look at the genre’s evolution from its hillbilly origins at the turn of the century to the mainstream success it is today.

His chronicle begins, appropriately enough, in 1900, when, according to Oermann, the New York Journal became the first publication to use the word “hillbilly” in print. Oermann takes his time explaining the origins of the hillbilly culture, and while this material creates a strong reference point for the development of country music, the opening chapter bogs down in minutiae. Oermann more than atones for the dryness, however, as the century and his chronology progress and the characters become more colorful, from Jimmie Rodgers (“ ‘We thinks about Elvis and the thousands of people that would mob Elvis. But back in 1933, it was like that with Jimmie Rodgers,’ said BoxCar Willie”) to the Grand Ole Opry, which began on December 26, 1925 on WSM radio. Obviously, there are certain giants of country—Hank Williams and Patsy Cline—who deserve more attention, but who have also been written about repeatedly. Oermann does a good job of them their due while coming up with something new. He starts the passage about Williams by writing, “Hank Williams was honky-tonk music’s tortured genius.” To put in perspective the unparalleled influence Williams had on country, Oermann cites Don Helms, Jimmy Dickens, and several other musicians. Of Cline, Oermann says, “She remains the voice against which all other female country singers must measure themselves.” To hear what many of today’s contemporary stars, including Kathy Mattea and Shelby Lynne, have to say of Cline is especially intriguing.

Oermann effectively bridges the gap between the country music giants of yore and today’s stars, such as the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and Garth Brooks. (Over 200 b&w and color photos)

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 1999

ISBN: 1-57500-083-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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