MY STRUGGLE

THE EXPLOSIVE VIEWS OF RUSSIA'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL POLITICAL FIGURE

Depending on the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in Russia, this political manifesto will prove either ridiculous or frightening. Zhirinovsky burst onto the political stage and into the world's focus when his wildly misnamed Liberal Democratic Party won 25 percent of the vote in Russian elections of December 1993. Since then, he has been called a populist, a demagogue, a rabid nationalist, a fascist, a neo-Stalinist; what is abundantly clear from this thin, rambling tract disguised as an autobiography is that he is all of the above and a megalomaniac as well. It is no coincidence that the title is a direct translation of Hitler's Mein Kampf, and as in that notorious work, another potential dictator lays out his master plan based on delusions, fantasies, irrational hatreds, and persecution-mania. Zhirinovsky wallows in bathos as he portrays himself (a Russian) as a victim of ethnic nationalism in the former Soviet Union. After a stint in the Institute of Oriental Languages in Moscow and a career as legal counsel for the Mir Publishing House, Zhirinovsky entered politics. Most of this short book describes a geopolitical vision containing equal parts banalities, clichÇs, and outrageous demands, the key being Russia's ``bid for the South.'' According to Zhirinovsky, Russia must expand its territory to the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea for the benefit to all humankind. In the process, Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey will have to be dismembered. Another prescription in his global vision calls for a rapid-action force of Russians, Chinese, and Germans to keep the peace in Eurasia. He casts himself in the role of savior and martyr, echoing Nazi demands for Lebensraum, or ``living space.'' Fantasy, utopia, and apocalyptic visions combine in a frightening call to rearrange borders and resurrect the Russian Empire, including demands that the USA return Alaska. If Zhirinovsky does well in upcoming elections, the West and the world will have to deal with yet another fanatical nationalist whose grip on reality is tenuous at best.

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56980-074-X

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Barricade

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1996

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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