A masterly biography of Robert Boothby, a Conservative politician now little remembered, whose Parliamentary career spanned more than 50 years during the interwar and post-WW II period. Here, James, British historian and M.P. (Anthony Eden, 1987, etc.), offers a portrait with far greater significance than the subject might suggest. Based on unfettered access to most of Boothby's papers, James's study provides unusual insight into the characters of both Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan. Boothby, a charismatic, ebullient figure, regarded as one of the best orators of his time, was also considered a possible Conservative Prime Minister. Elected to the House of Commons in his 20s and shortly thereafter appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Churchill when the future P.M. was Chancellor of the Exchequer, Boothby seemed destined for the highest office. But his very brilliance, his unwillingness to subordinate his judgment to the demands of the party, and his recklessness in financial matters—all contributed to the failure of that promise. The most significant cause, however, may have been his affair with Lady Dorothy Macmillan, Harold's wife, which lasted from 1930 until her death in 1967. That, and a minor scandal just after he had taken office as Minister of Food during WW II, helped to destroy his reputation. As a result, a politician who had been right on almost every major issue of importance, from the economy in the 1930's to the danger from Nazi Germany, became ultimately no more than a peripheral figure. But Boothby's career gives an unusual view of the ruthlessness of Churchill in his treatment of one of his main supporters, and of the determination and charity with which Macmillan faced his own unhappiness, ultimately even giving Boothby a peerage. A fascinating insight into British politics through the life of someone who knew everyone of significance, and who possessed an unusual capacity to tell the truth, however much it hurt him. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-670-82886-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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?