A concise and laudatory overview of Barack Obama’s presidency.
An alumnus of Morehouse College, Wilson (It’s Cotton Blossom Time, 2010, etc.) “always thought that if any black scholar should become President of the United States of America, it would be a Morehouse College graduate. Nobody else is qualified.” In that spirit, the centrality of Morehouse to African American experience (including a nearly 30-page overview of its distinguished graduates) is a theme in this otherwise eclectic tribute to President Barack Obama (a graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law School). At first dismissive of Obama’s swift rise to fame, Wilson soon changed his mind and in this book offers an unconventional biography of a man he loves: a basic sketch of Obama’s life and work through short essays, poetry, revealing vignettes from Obama’s time in the White House, and reproductions of his most important speeches. The book is at its best when Wilson evokes the pride African Americans nationwide felt about having a black family at their nation’s helm. In his reflections on one of Obama’s inaugural balls, for example, Wilson describes the “enchanted moment” of watching Barack and Michelle dance to Motown classics. Though accomplished first ladies had appeared at earlier balls, “nothing could replace the black beauty of Michelle.” Other musings deal with Obama’s athleticism, humor, love of food, religion, and other cultural markers that made him not just a personally beloved, but distinctly black president. In 2013, Obama received an honorary degree from Morehouse, proudly joining Wilson’s illustrious list of “Morehouse Men.” Obama’s fans, particularly those drawn to his roots in the African American experience, can revel in the author’s passionate poetry and prose that is constant in its affirmations of Obama. Some, however, may find the work too hagiographic, refusing to even acknowledge criticisms of Obama from the philosopher Cornel West (and other within African American community) for his close ties to Wall Street, his handling of immigration, and foreign policies that some see as militaristic.
An adoring and unquestioning celebration of Obama’s presidency.
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)