ORIGINS OF A CATASTROPHE

YUGOSLAVIA AND ITS DESTROYERS

Another coroner's report on the death of Yugoslavia, this time by an observer with a literary bent, the US's last ambassador to that vanished nation. Zimmermann was posted to Belgrade in 1989, and his account begins with this period of tangible decline and ends with the final breakdown of talks among the republics and the eruption of violence in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Zimmermann unambiguously places principal blame for the demise of Yugoslavia on Serbia's Slobodan Milosevi, whom he judges ``an opportunist rather than an ideologue,'' a Jekyll-and-Hyde type dominated by his darker side. He views Croatia's leader, Franjo Tudjman, as a nationalist whose ``devotion to Croatia was of the most narrow- minded sort.'' And while myriad domestic and international players had a hand in Yugoslavia's demise, it was these two individuals, he argues, who are most responsible for the country's dissolution. Zimmermann drives home several significant points that are too often overlooked: Countering those who attribute the crisis to ``ancient Balkan hostilities,'' he stresses the crucial influences of a modern agent, television, in provoking extreme nationalism. Zimmermann also emphasizes the countless decent people who consistently opposed virulent nationalism. Any hope for the future lies with this reserve of Yugoslav humanists, who may ``one day help to build societies not driven by rabid nationalism.'' Finally, the diplomat draws universal lessons from the Yugoslav experience. From questions of minority rights to the international community's ability to meet ethnic challenges, ``the issues fought out with such savagery in Yugoslavia . . . apply around the globe.'' Zimmermann represents the best of the Foreign Service—a dedicated professional who brings both learned and instinctual insight to his work. His timely insider analysis is enlivened with unforgettable portraits of a bizarre cast of characters. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8129-6399-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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