A multifaceted life story that will enthrall architecture and history buffs as well as scholars.




A beautifully crafted debut memoir about an award-winning African-American architect who broke through societal barriers and helped others do the same.

Written and compiled with the assistance of Siener (A Guide to Gloucester County, Virginia Historical Manuscripts, 1976) and Coles’ wife, Sylvia, this engaging account tells the story of a successful 50-year career and passion for social justice. Born in 1929, Coles was raised in the heart of Buffalo, New York. He attended the University of Minnesota as the sole African-American student in architecture and received his master’s from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Founding his architectural firm in 1963, Coles’ love of the city and its people is reflected in his work. For example, he designed the award-winning Joseph J. Kelly Gardens housing complex to complement the community’s existing cityscape. Meeting and working with community organizers—such as the Rev. Richard Prosser and Saul Alinsky—allowed Coles to combine his thirst for activism with the occupation he loved. Commissioned by Prosser, Coles designed Buffalo’s “Friendship House,” a local hub for social programs, activities, and a food pantry. Dedicated to helping more minorities become architects (Coles referred to black architects as an “endangered species”), he hired 30 African-American architects and interns from 1964 to 2004. In 1995, he became the first African-American chancellor of the American Institute of Architects. Coles’ smooth-flowing prose is a pleasure to peruse, and his voice is memorable. For example, when a teacher discouraged Coles from becoming an architect because “there were no Black architects,” the young design student refused to give up: “Undiscouraged, I resolved to be an architect and one of the best.” Adorned with a variety of color and black-and-white photos and some of Coles’ designs, this informative page-turner is suitable for both in-depth analysis or an afternoon of browsing. Some of the photos—like one with Coles and Saul Alinsky—are particularly intriguing. The book includes appendices for further exploration, such as articles written by Coles.

A multifaceted life story that will enthrall architecture and history buffs as well as scholars.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9839170-2-1

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Buffalo Arts Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


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

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