A superb book for those interested in architectural history, written in an easygoing style by a man with encyclopedic...

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MYSTERIES OF THE MALL

AND OTHER ESSAYS

In this illuminating collection of essays, Rybczynski (Emeritus, Architecture/Univ. of Pennsylvania; How Architecture Works, 2013, etc.) documents the wide-ranging effects of the men who built America in the 20th century.

The title of the book is misleading, as the author explores our lives in homes, small towns, cities, and gardens, in addition to our shopping habits. The movement into and then out of the cities spawned the highway and transportation systems that enabled urban sprawl. Rybczynski puts names to the people who drove America’s growth, beginning with Fracis Turner, who ran the National Highway Program from 1954. Marshall McLuhan’s Law of Technological Second Lives suggested the importance of reusing obsolete city spaces—a good example of urban preservation is San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square—but not all attempts to rehab unused buildings are successful. The architects whom the author calls the “Show Dogs” are winning competitions for big city museums, music venues, and libraries. Such buildings as Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, I.M. Pei’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and Sydney’s Opera House are the sought-after icons that have succeeded in bolstering their economies and bringing in tourists. Rybczynski doesn’t limit himself to architects; he also shows the vast change in landscape architecture in the 19th century under Frederick Law Olmsted. There’s an excellent piece on Arup, the structural engineering firm that Pritzker Prize winners (the Nobel Prize for architects) turn to more than any other. This all-encompassing book includes essays on post–9/11 security designs, individual homes, planned communities, and more. Rybczynski doesn’t leave out the masters, either; he examines Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Andrea Palladio, the incomparable Renaissance genius whose work continues to produce endless permutations.

A superb book for those interested in architectural history, written in an easygoing style by a man with encyclopedic knowledge and an obvious great love for building.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-26993-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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