A must for fans of Southern, that great satirist, and a revealing look into the litbiz of old.



A collection of letters from one of the 20th century’s most satirically witty writers.

It’s no surprise that Southern, the author of The Magic Christian and Candy, among other then-controversial books, should have taken an unusually thorough interest in genitalia. Among the admonitions in this entertaining gathering of letters is a note t friend and partner in crime Mason Hoffenberg that a certain young woman “is pointing your way, Mace, her loins heavy with the desire of you. She asked me what I thought her chances of getting some of your teencie.” Teencie? Well, if Keith Richards can write of a certain rock star’s “tiny todger,” the word will have to stand. Though loins and organs figure heavily in these pages, elsewhere Southern is given to business, pleading with Whoopi Goldberg here to allow him to write a vehicle for her (“When, oh when, shall such a grand showcase for your ultra-fab talents present itself again?"), there suggesting to Chuck Barris that the two of them might just cook up a game show together (“I have formats aplenty for some quite outlandish (though wholly credible) game shows, which could serve your purpose in ultra fab stead!”) Still elsewhere, Southern is more restrained, as when writing to William Saroyan and Philip Roth, though no less playful. To read through these letters, written to the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Ringo Starr, and Stanley Kubrick, is to take a wide-ranging tour of popular and literary culture during the golden age of the 1960s and ’70s. Southern begins to run out of steam after those anni mirabili, and some of the later letters have a get-off-my-lawn quality, as when he chides Phil Donahue for being nice to Rush Limbaugh. Still, to read of Southern’s demise while still hard at work is sobering—hard at work establishing a reputation beyond that of a writer’s writer, that is.

A must for fans of Southern, that great satirist, and a revealing look into the litbiz of old.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9838683-9-2

Page Count: 368


Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet