A heartfelt and thoughtful collection.

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WHO WILL SPEAK FOR AMERICA?

Feldman (The Angel of Losses, 2014) and Popkin (Everything Is Borrowed, 2018, etc.) gather a medley of diverse voices to reflect on politics, society, and culture in contemporary America.

Essays, poems, fiction, photographs, and cartoons bristle with emotion from contributors responding to issues they consider most urgent: racism, sexism, poverty, and injustice. Nancy Hightower, who grew up in the evangelical South, captures the tenor of the collection when she urges the church, academia, and publishing—which she sees as being largely white—to break down racial boundaries and become “filled with, and overflowing with diversity.” She suggests that “if those in the literary arts want to transform the landscape of America, they need to be better evangelicals.” By that, she means that they must “write and publish work that speaks to students in the Bronx and LGBTQ teenagers in Oklahoma.” Inclusivity, she asserts, would produce a “glorious rhetorical army” to resist the president “and his corrupt administration.” Not surprisingly, many contributors rail against Donald Trump. Fiction writer Carmen Maria Machado cites her observations of racism and homophobia as reasons she should have known that Trump would be elected president. Poet, novelist, and creative nonfiction writer Samira Ahmed, who was born in India, takes on racism, reporting that she has been called terrorist, rag head, and sand nigger. “You realize, too young, that racists fail geography,” she writes, “but that their epithets and perverted patriotism can still shatter moments of your childhood.” Keeping silent is no adequate response, she warns: “in this land of the free and home of the brave, you plant yourself. / Like a flag.” Cartoonist Liana Finck depicts a map of America with U.S. crossed out, substituted by T. H. E. M. Novelist Diane McKinney-Whetstone celebrates the “hopeful vibe” she felt when she participated in the Women’s March. Hope counters an undercurrent of despair for many contributors: “I don’t want to give up the struggle,” says a despondent individual drawn by Finck. “I want to win and move on.”

A heartfelt and thoughtful collection.

Pub Date: July 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4399-1624-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Temple Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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