A thorough, if extreme, proposal for making African-Americans self-reliant.

The Black Ten Commandments


A debut political book proposes new commandments for black America.

In response to Ossie Davis’ 1965 call for a “Black ten commandments,” Caligula has composed a regimen of activities he thinks will “provide a new standard of leadership—one that is not autocratic, doesn’t thrive on instability, operates in a more transparent manner, and disseminates a plan for the Black community.” Much of the book (the first 400 pages) is spent attempting to establish the economic, political, psychological, and spiritual context for black America. The commandments, when they finally appear, are presented as solutions to the myriad problems faced by African-Americans, explained both in their philosophical dimension and practical application. The concerns of the commandments, which retain a basis in Scripture, include setting proper priorities, rejecting white paternalism, refocusing on the nuclear family, reinvigorating the black church, and other goals that the author sees as strengthening the position of the larger African-American community. A mix of conservative faith-and-family initiatives combined with political agitation in the courts and support for black businesses, Caligula’s platform is essentially a rebranding of long-promoted improvement strategies articulated in a franker and more forceful tone. An Army veteran, Caligula uses U.S. military principles, including the Military Problem Solving Process, as a basis for both community- and self-improvement. He writes with clarity and confidence, though his idiosyncrasies are numerous and frequently distracting. (He spends a surprising amount of time discussing comparative mythology, for example, and insists on always spelling African as “AfriCAN.”) Though many of his complaints and criticisms about the relationship between white and black America are valid, the author holds some controversial opinions in regards to both mainstream Christianity (which he calls “Fascianity...biblical-based fascism akin to Nazism”) and the American political system (“Liberal foxes and conservative wolves are two sides of the same coin”). He is no fan of President Barack Obama (whom he calls a “selfish trickster”), and has little patience for what he terms “Black victim ‘excuse-aholics.’ ” It’s a tough love approach to say the least, one that will likely prove too tough for many readers.

A thorough, if extreme, proposal for making African-Americans self-reliant.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4787-2705-7

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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