A lighthearted, boiled-down approach to looking back at French military history.

The Frog Surrenders


New author Palafox’s illustrated, sardonic sketch of the French and their unavailing military.

In this romp through French military history, Palafox sets the tone early with a comical illustration of Oscar Wilde smoking a long cigarette and musing aloud: “They could save a lot of money if they stopped paying people to surrender.” The author begins his survey of military history with the Battle of Tours in A.D. 732, where Charles Martel routed the Muslim invaders and earned the humorous nickname, Charles the Hammer. “So, let us all start out by freely acknowledging that we owe the French a big one on this,” Palafox says, tongue in cheek. “Without them, perhaps, all our women would be in burkas and all our men in turbans. And this’ll, hopefully, be the last positive thing said about the French in this book.” Next, the author reviews the major conflicts fought by the French, with witty accounts of each. Comically titled chapters—e.g., “How to be a Great French Military Commander,” “Famous French Fighting Songs” (intentionally left blank)—feature the Hundred Years’ War, the Religious Wars, World War I, World War II and others. Palafox combines just enough sugar with vinegar to produce a caricature of the French people and their military that’s funny and informative, without being bitter or overbearing. For example, his comparison of the Montreal Expos’ winning percentage to the French military’s win-loss record is amusing and educational. Hilarious, well-placed quotes—some biting, some benign—along with amusing black-and-white cartoon illustrations by Martel and historical summary charts, combine to create a breezy text that’s hard to put down.

A lighthearted, boiled-down approach to looking back at French military history.

Pub Date: April 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493602100

Page Count: 234

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

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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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