Research at depth and previously unpublished revelations make this adroitly told biography of soul-singer Marvin Gaye hard to put down. Despite Gaye's international fame, only a 1974 roman Ö clef about the Motown years (Elaine Jesmer's Number One With a Bullet) and friend David Ritz's Divided Soul (1985) describe his extraordinary life—or death. As British writer Davis (Motown, the History—not reviewed) explains here, when Gaye, 44, was shot and killed by his father on April 1, 1984, his fans were astounded. The singer's friends, however, knowing the violence that cocaine had created in Gaye, weren't surprised when the killer was found to have acted in self-defense. Singing at age three in his father's church, Gaye by age 20 had joined fledgling Motown as a singer and songwriter, penning hits for the Marvelettes and Martha and the Vandellas—here described, along with other singers, studio musicians, and Motown powerhouses, in authoritative and fascinating detail. Despite selling millions of R&B records, Gaye chafed at his straitjacket of love- and dance- songs. Finally telling Motown owner Berry Gordy in 1972 that he would never again record for him if he couldn't have artistic freedom, Gaye wrote, sang, played on, and produced What's Going On?—a seminal album for all R&B artists, one on which Gaye finally wrenched himself off the Motown bubble-gum assembly line and delivered songs about Vietnam, ecology, the black ghetto, and his own drug habit, which was progressively taking over his life. Probably in reaction to lifelong depression, Davis says, Gaye was a 20-year coke addict, often locking himself up alone for monthlong freebase binges. Davis iterates in depth Gaye's many deep contradictions—e.g., how, as a lover, he oscillated from terror that he could never live up to his reputation to a grandiose erotic braggadocio. Consummate biography of a troubled, compelling, and all-too- human character. (Thirteen b&w photographs.)

Pub Date: July 1, 1992

ISBN: 1-85158-487-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Mainstream/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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