A political book offers a history of the populist left in America from 1988 to the present.
As Joe Biden leads the Democratic primary field, some voters may recall his first, failed campaign for president back in 1988. But Grim (This Is Your Country on Drugs, 2009) argues that the most influential candidate in that race was not Biden or even the ultimate Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis. Rather, it was the man challenging Dukakis from the left, the civil rights leader and minister Jesse Jackson. Though Jackson ran a competitive but unsuccessful campaign, his call for a “Rainbow Coalition” of voters from across the racial and gender spectrum in order to confront the “economic violence” that affected them all proved prophetic of leftist politics to come. The unexpectedly popular 2016 campaign of Bernie Sanders and the subsequent election and celebrity of progressive candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have reshaped the Democratic Party and revealed widespread dissatisfaction with America’s racial and economic status quo. With this book, the author tracks the development of these ideas across the last three decades, from moments of centrist dominance—and sabotage—to glimmers of true reform. A seasoned journalist, Grim delivers prose that is smooth and often gripping, even when describing floor votes involving U.S. Representative Bart Stupak: “In March, Stupak and his gang of anti-choice dissidents eventually came around to a compromise on abortion and voted in favor of the bill. During the floor debate, a Republican shouted ‘baby killer’ at Stupak while he spoke.” The complexity of the political process really shines through—inattentive readers may at times lose the thread—but the author is able to show how each event relates to his central argument. Grim has a clear agenda and ends by warning voters to stop being pundits and vote for the politicians they actually admire: economic progressives such as Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, not moderates like Biden whom they perceive to be electable. Even so, this behind-the-scenes account of the internal struggles within the Democratic Party will be of interest even to those who don’t have red roses in their Twitter profiles.
A thoroughly researched and ultimately persuasive telling of how the Democrats arrived at their current crossroads.
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").
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)