In an attempt to rectify Zionist history, Simon Schama has re-examined the role of Baron Edmond de Rothschild and his son James in the Jewish settlement of Palestine—and, inseparably, the record of the two agencies they set up to channel their philanthropic contributions into specific projects. Author of the well-received Patriots and Liberators (1977), Schama was invited to examine the archives by the Rothschild family. He refutes Herzl's charge that the colonies were a "rich man's pastime to while away what would otherwise have been idle hours" by illustrating how Baron Edmond's immediate concern in 1882 for the sanctuary of Eastern European pogrom victims was, by the turn of the century, translated into a total commitment to the development of a self-supporting Jewish homeland and finally a state. These stages paralleled his own concrete contributions: purchasing land and equipping colonies (when colonies were not ditty words), developing cash crops and industry, and finally in 1957 simultaneously dismantling the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association while underwriting the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) building as a testament both to the existence of the Jewish state and the Rothschilds' role in building it. Along the way, Schama maneuvers skillfully through the cluttered detail of budgets, expenditures, equipment, crop experimentation (with wine, tobacco, and perfume), border disputes, and administrative problems, providing occasional vignettes of local Palestinian conditions under Ottoman rule, Baronial outrage at colonists' ingratitude toward his centralized regime, agents' ineptness, and encounters with Herzl, Balfour, and Weizmann. Meanwhile the Baron evolves from a "benevolent onlooker" to an "active accomplice"; and, with Schama's thoroughly documented, incisively written account, he and his family take theft significant places in Israeli history.

Pub Date: May 1, 1978

ISBN: 0394501373

Page Count: 420

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1978

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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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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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