THE LEVELING WIND

POLITICS, THE CULTURE, AND OTHER NEWS, 1990-1994

Another 175 pieces of Will's lively, inquiring mind. In his fifth collection (Restoration, 1992, etc.) of short- take commentaries (drawn largely from work published in Newsweek and the Washington Post over the past four years), the syndicated columnist addresses a wealth of consequential issues. To a great extent, however, Will's varied pieces are linked by his concern about the chill, leveling winds of cultural change now whistling through contemporary American society. Informed by a classically conservative sensibility, the author inveighs against the epidemic of illegitimate births, promotion of group (rather than individual) rights, the desensitizing effects of represented violence, the politicization of education, the coarsening of popular entertainment, and the socioeconomic costs of urban decay. Other targets of opportunity include George Bush (who, Will feels, Desert Storm notwithstanding, effectively squandered Ronald Reagan's legacy), Bill Clinton (whose on-again/off-again liberalism earns him comparison with Henry of Navarre, one of history's slicker chameleons), quota systems (whether ethnic, racial, or sexual), interventionist government, Patrick Buchanan, political agendas tarted up to pass as civil rights, the proliferation of victim status, and academe's tenured radicals. If Will finds considerable fault with the latter-day US, he does not ignore the plus side of the ledger altogether (noting at one point that journalists seldom report on all the planes that land safely). By way of example, he celebrates many of the dedicated individuals who work with underclass kids on the mean streets of inner cities that have long since lost their alabaster gleam. The Pulitzer Prizewinning author also has kind words for meritocracy (wherever observed), free trade, traditional family values, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson (whom he designates the man of the millennium), Harry Truman, and other icons whose libertarian appeal may not be readily apparent to casual students of ideology. Articulately partisan critiques of the volatile and evolving state of the union.

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 1994

ISBN: 0-670-86021-2

Page Count: 446

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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