A short memoir, but one that’s packed with advice.




From the WHITE COAT SECRETS series , Vol. 1

In her debut memoir, Mabry-Height recounts her struggles against racism and sexism as she worked to achieve success in the medical field.

The author was born to a poor, African-American family in rural North Carolina in the early 1950s. At the age of 5, she left her great-grandparents’ farm and moved North with her young, single mother to Brooklyn, New York. The early advice she received from her relatives—such as “If I wanted to be successful, I should ‘find a need and fill it’ ”—provided the foundation for the rest of her life. Despite discouragement from teachers and counselors, Mabry-Height pursued her dream of becoming a medical doctor; after graduating from the City University of New York, she went on to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. While in medical school, she received a grant to travel to Kenya as an aid worker, which she says was an eye-opening experience. She subsequently received her medical degree; however, she writes that despite her education, she still had to contend with employment discrimination and sexual harassment. Eventually, she took control of her career by founding her own medical and consulting practices in California. This book is quite brief, particularly for a memoir, and many chapters wrap up in less than four pages. As a result, readers looking for an in-depth remembrance may wish that this one explored some of its incidents in greater detail. However, the book’s conciseness makes it focused and direct. Ultimately, Mabry-Height seems more concerned with imparting lessons than telling her full life story. Almost every chapter contains explicit messages for aspiring doctors, or more generally, for any readers trying to succeed in a professional field. “Let this book teach you,” she writes in a representative passage, “that you must be able to reinvent yourself at some point, professionally and as an entrepreneur.” This quick read would make a fine gift for a graduate or anyone else who needs a bit of inspiration as she or he seeks to conquer life’s obstacles. The book also includes several black-and-white photographs.

A short memoir, but one that’s packed with advice. 

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9830117-1-2

Page Count: 196

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

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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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