Candid, introspective and often deeply philosophical, these letters offer intimate glimpses into the lives and minds of two...

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DISTANT NEIGHBORS

THE SELECTED LETTERS OF WENDELL BERRY AND GARY SNYDER

A collection of letters chronicling two writers’ friendship and common interests in nature and faith.

Wriglesworth (English/Univ. of Waterloo) has gathered nearly 240 letters between Snyder and Berry, written since 1973, when the two began corresponding, Snyder (Back on the Fire: Essays, 2007, etc.) writing from his home in Nevada City, Calif., and Berry from Port Royal, Ky. Recurring themes include environmentalism, reflections on spirituality and the authors’ efforts to effect social change: “living at peace is a difficult, deceptive concept,” Berry wrote to Snyder in 1978. “Same for resisting evil. You can struggle, embattle yourself, resist evil until you become evil….And I see with considerable sorrow that I am not going to get done fighting and live at peace in anything like the simple way I thought I would.” Snyder saw the battle not against evil, but rather “ignorance, stupidity, narrow views [and] simple-minded egotism” and urged Berry not to fear “becoming tainted by ‘evil’ because that’s not really what you’re up against.” While Snyder practices Zen Buddhism, Berry calls himself a “forest Christian”; both are concerned with the “connection between enlightenment and householding.” Although Berry admitted “joyful relief” in their convergence of ideas about ecology, at times they differed. For example, when Snyder wrote enthusiastically about biologists’ work “to make cereals capable of fixing nitrogen like legumes do, saving 17 billion dollars a year in fertilizer worldwide,” Berry responded with alarm about “the science of genetic manipulation.” It may be good for farming, he conceded, but he worried that it would intensify agribusiness. The two writers have been attentive readers of each other’s work, and those critiques and the writer’s responses, are among the most interesting letters. Wriglesworth provides helpful information where needed, but annotations, relegated to endnotes, would be more useful as footnotes to each letter.

Candid, introspective and often deeply philosophical, these letters offer intimate glimpses into the lives and minds of two influential contemporary writers.

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61902-305-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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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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