A highly detailed, worthwhile manual for survivors of various forms of domestic abuse.




A handbook aims to help readers deal with domestic violence.

The statistics underlying this work by family therapist Coates (Mindful Workbook for Women, 2018, etc.) are stark and sobering: 1 in 3 American women experience domestic abuse of some kind during their lives; 15 million children are abused every year; more than 70 percent of domestic-violence murders happen after the victims have ended the relationships; and alarmingly large percentages of domestic abuse cases are never reported. The author carefully itemizes every aspect of this depressing plague running through the country: the warning signs, the typical progression of domestic situations from tension to explosion and abuse, the stages of rationalization and understanding, and practices for handling the trauma and achieving some measure of inner peace. The book’s sections come with ample work space for readers to write responses to questions designed to bring them into the process of clarifying their own experiences. Likewise, Coates provides case studies in the form of stories meant to illustrate common scenarios of domestic abuse. All of it is presented in clear, accessible prose that wears its clinical learning very lightly. The book achieves a great deal of this accessibility by striving to maintain a degree of emotional neutrality while exploring its intensely personal subject: “When we keep in mind that all human behavior makes sense within context, we are able to take a curious stance toward ourselves and others rather than a harmful stance of judgment and criticism.”  This wise decision to conduct an enlightened inquiry is the book’s greatest strength, allowing Coates to see abusers as human beings without excusing their actions. In almost all cases, she reminds her readers, the culprits have themselves been abused, and the use of the “curious stance” allows for a clearer picture of this whole spectrum. “The use of judgment and criticism leads to anger, shame, and stagnation,” the author writes in her comprehensive, systematic work. “With a curious stance we can gather valuable information that will allow us to make the changes necessary to reach our personal goals of stability and contentment.” Recognizing that many (perhaps most) abuse victims at some point feel tempted either to blame themselves or to avoid their own emotional turmoil, Coates is empathetic but firm in her warnings against such indulgences. “Whether you recognize your emotions or not, they will have a powerful influence over your thoughts and behaviors,” she writes. “Denying an emotion is like standing in the rain without an umbrella and pretending it’s not raining.” The clarity and compassion of her prose combine very effectively with the scope of her professional experiences and make the resulting book something its target audience should find intensely useful in coping with the dark things that have happened to them.

A highly detailed, worthwhile manual for survivors of various forms of domestic abuse.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4787-8462-3

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2018

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


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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