Outstanding: a must for cycling enthusiasts and recommended to lovers and haters of France, general sports fans, or anyone...



An amusing British writer creates a lively swirl of action and observation as he bicycles the route of the 2000 Tour de France.

Six weeks before the official Tour started, 35-year-old Moore (Frost on My Moustache, 2000, etc.) began the 2,256-mile circuit of France that finishes on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Since 1904, when winner Maurice Garin was disqualified for riding a train, the Tour has a rich history of cheating, a tradition that Moore quickly embraces. He lops off the first 400 miles of the race, then in the Pyrenees circumvents the steep climb called Lourdes-Hautacam and walks up the Col de Marie-Blanc. Satisfaction does come with increased endurance and successful ascents of the Cols de Galibier and Izoard in the Alps. Moore observes a changing France as he rides; small towns are dying, and local cycle clubs ride with a casualness that underlies a national softening. His wife and three noisy kids show up for the Alpine section, offering a contrast to the orderly French families. Moore's expertise on Tour history carries the narrative; from Paul Kimmage's race laundry tips to Bernard Hinault's champagne-filled water bottles, interesting detail abounds. The author gladly plays the old game of Anglo-French sniping, firing entertaining blasts at the Tour’s unhelpful PR department, hostile hotel clerks, and condescending chefs. At the end, Moore clicks through 3,000 kilometers (1,863 miles) in Paris, compares his joyful, disbelieving smile to Hitler's at the Arc de Triomphe in 1940, and provides an earthy coda asserting that on some days, five breakfast croissants are not enough. Throughout, he employs colloquial British English—“bollocks,” “poxy,” and “ponce” lead the list of words, phrases, and inside national jokes that remind us we are not in Kansas anymore.

Outstanding: a must for cycling enthusiasts and recommended to lovers and haters of France, general sports fans, or anyone who has ever cheated at anything.

Pub Date: June 7, 2002

ISBN: 0-312-29045-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

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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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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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