The reputation of Arnold Toynbee—whose Study of History was called by Time magazine "the best available guide to the meaning of history and the destiny of humankind"—has over the intervening years slipped into a scholarly limbo. Toynbee's type of sweeping overview of the rise and decline of civilizations has become suspect; specialization is now the watchword among historians. In this gracefully written, subtly reasoned, warts-and-all (thought not vindictive) biography, McNeill (History/Univ. of Chicago; Rise of the West, 1964) does not aim to set Toynee back atop a pedestal, but merely to stimulate a reevaluation of the British historian's theories and works. The result is a cogent, evenhanded, and consistently involving study. The author is just as scrupulous in his depiction of Toynbee's personal life. He makes no attempt to gloss over his subject's many shortcomings: Toynbee's combination of outward modesty and inward craving for adulation, his near-pathological concern for financial security, his coldness toward his children, his snobbery. The only son of a middle-class family aways terrified of toppling into genteel poverty, Toynbee was an intellectual wonder. He was awarded scholarships to prestigious schools and consistently walked off with honors. He remained a researchaholic all his life, turning out masses of detailed papers and books; and later married the imperious Rosalind Murray, daughter of Gilbert Murray and his aristocratic wife, Lady Mary—a connection that eased his rise to prominence. As his monumental Study of History appeared in volume after volume, his reputation likewise burgeoned. Ultimately, after several children, Rosalind converted to Roman Catholicism, and the marriage split asunder. Toynbee was devastated, but in time he married his research assistant. Over the years, he formed his own peculiar version of religiosity; it was this spiritual "awakening" that accounts for the switch in tone between the earlier and later volumes of his masterwork, a disparity often noted by subsequent critic/historians. A fair and stimulating look at an immensely gifted, immensely flawed figure.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 19-505863-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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