GREAT DIVIDE

Terkel returns once again to his "oral history" format to investigate what he describes as "the deepening chasm [in today's American society] between the haves—and have-somewhats—and the have-nots." According to the author, the past decade has seen changes that have separated vast segments of that society and have even "cut off past from present." In examining this recent history, Terkel enlists the testimonies of farmers, politicians, antinuke activists, members of the Sanctuary Movement, academics, religious Fundamentalists, Wall Street fast-lane types, and the occasional dropout. Breaking the subject down into such headings as "School Days," "Family Farmer," "God," "Neighbors," Terkel compares and contrasts attitudes toward life in the US today. As can be expected, the contributions vary: some are nearly inarticulate, others a grabbag of accepted "truths" (i.e., cliche's). Many, however, are perceptive and, in the most compelling of them, deeply moving. Take, for example, the story told by Jean Gump, a grandmother, mother of 12, delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention, and, most importantly, a member of the disarmament group Silo Plowshares. Mrs. Gump was arrested on Good Friday 1986 for infiltrating a missile site and disfiguring a Minute Mare silo. She tells her story with a palpable sense of commitment and occasional flashes of no-nonsense humor; for her act of dissent, she was sentenced to six years at a federal penitentiary. Nearly as engrossing are the reminiscences of a flight attendant whose pilot husband crosses the picket line in which his wife protests company policies. Like previous Terkel surveys, this leaves a great deal of chaff with the sociological wheat—but, because of the urgency and immediacy of its theme, it's one of the author's most successful offerings since The Good War.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 1988

ISBN: 0517059959

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1988

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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