It’s no easy task to write a readable history of the WWII years leaving out all battles and concentrating on how the bill...

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES

VOL. III, FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM, 1937-1946

Final volume in the definitive biography (following The Economist as Savior, 1920–1937, 1994, etc.) of the brilliant British economist.

Keynes (1883–1946) may or may not have been the greatest economist of the last century, but he was certainly the most influential. Moving easily in academic, literary, business, and political circles, he was merely an unpaid advisor to the Treasury (albeit with his own office) during the 1930s and ’40s, yet no British politician could ignore him. Rejecting Marxism and socialism, he also dismissed much of classical economics. Many of his ideas outraged traditional economists. He taught that efforts at a balanced budget made no sense. He advocated generous government spending during slumps but frugality in boom times. Skidelsky (Political Economy/Warwick Univ.) begins the present volume with Keynes at the peak of his influence in 1937. This was partly due to the power of his ideas but also because he advocated programs politicians were eager to follow for other reasons (it was, after all, the Depression). Almost immediately he was caught up in the preparations and financing of WWII. Keynes’s advice ensured that Britain’s enormous war budget did not produce the damaging inflation that occurred during WWI. In addition, he advocated a postwar monetary system that avoided the chaotic currency swings that stifled trade and aggravated economic cycles between the wars. Negotiating with the US, he was forced to compromise, but the successful Bretton Woods agreement contained many of his ideas. His greatest failure was America’s 1945 refusal of a massive grant to revive England’s crippled economy. Readers accustomed to the History Channel view of the two allies as blood brothers will be surprised to learn how aggressively US leaders strove to eliminate Britain’s empire and economic influence.

It’s no easy task to write a readable history of the WWII years leaving out all battles and concentrating on how the bill was paid, but Skidelsky succeeds superbly.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2001

ISBN: 0-670-03022-8

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2001

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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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