An extensive, encyclopedic investigation that walks a fine line between New Age spirituality and metaphysics.


The Architecture of Freedom


Is it possible some of our central beliefs about time, space, and ourselves are wrong and our lives might change drastically for the better if we revise them? Cross investigates.

This provocative and ambitious book seeks to synthesize ideas in philosophy, spirituality, ethics, and new and old models of science to lay the groundwork for a new understanding of the place of humankind in the universe as well as the worth and purpose of human life. It’s as gargantuan a task as it sounds. The book, in keeping with this colossal goal, is sweeping in scope, moving from a discussion of recent discoveries in theoretical physics to a detailed account of how these discoveries prompt us to reconsider, and ultimately reframe, some of our most common convictions and beliefs. The project, then, is a revisionary one, encouraging readers to call into question the belief, for instance, that our view of the world is objective or exhaustive: “The reader must keep in mind that the multi-dimensional nature of the universe will always mean that it cannot be fully or accurately described using our three-dimensional concepts and language.” Cross gives intriguing descriptions of theories of the multiverse that have captured the minds of philosophers, physicists, and religious leaders for much of recent history. The goal of the project, however, is to show that understanding the connected nature of reality can help us transcend the egotistical concerns that have come to dominate our lives. In one particularly provocative chapter, the author argues that even a figure like Hitler should be understood as a necessary stage in the unfolding of a beautiful, perfect universe. In friendly, well-paced prose, the account flows and is broadly fascinating. In some cases, he puts forward claims that seem plainly at odds with common sense, and the justifications for discarding such common sense seem, at best, weakly speculative. That said, the book succeeds as an exploratory exercise in attempting to understand the practical consequences of taking up alternative stances toward the universe and our place in it.

An extensive, encyclopedic investigation that walks a fine line between New Age spirituality and metaphysics.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0988834446

Page Count: 376

Publisher: One River Press

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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