WHEELS UP

SKY JINKS IN THE JET AGE

A memoir about what happens to a hyperactive kid when he grows up and becomes an airline pilot.
Debut memoirist Taylor grew up in South Carolina, matriculated at The Citadel, flew in Vietnam, and then spent a long, very satisfying career as a pilot with Delta Airlines. He didn’t achieve his dream of being a fighter pilot (for one thing, he had a very dicey stomach), but his stint in Southeast Asia piloting huge C-130 cargo planes prepared him well to fly Delta’s big jets. The book’s early chapters are pretty brutal, as upperclassmen at The Citadel screamed at him and tormented him, and then instructors in flight school did the same. But Taylor was spunky, giving as good as he got, and he loved to play practical jokes and pull pranks, such as when he tricked flight attendants into thinking a weather balloon was a UFO. Some of these pranks are funny, but others are somewhat labored in the telling. Readers have a front-row seat during harrowing landings in Vietnam, close calls flying for Delta, and other misadventures. When Taylor writes of retiring at the age of 60, saying, despite the parting festivities, that it was “one of the saddest days of my life,” readers will believe him. There are many more stories here; for example, the author sailed solo from Bermuda to North Carolina. (Taylor holds a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license and, alone and becalmed at sea, gives his inner poet free rein.) He also writes of hunting turkey and deer; raising his four kids as a single dad; his late, touching tribute to a man who taught him how to temper steel, and much more. Readers will overlook the frat-boy quality of the early high jinks, because when push came to shove, Taylor proved to be a sensitive, responsible grown-up. They will come to like Capt. Taylor very much, which is more than half the charm of a good memoir and a sign of a good memoirist. The book also includes photographs by the author.

A good read, of special interest to those who love flying.

Pub Date: May 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9914911-0-0

Page Count: 211

Publisher: Joggling Board Press

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2014

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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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