Funny, insightful, and legitimately illuminating.

BLACK MAN, WHITE HOUSE

AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE OBAMA YEARS

The Obama years, through a glass cleverly.

In this faux oral history of the Barack Obama administration, comedian and actor Hughley (I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up: How the Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America, 2012)—writing again with Malice (Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il, 2014, etc.)—consistently amuses and provides a nifty pocket history of the first African-American president’s tenure. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Rahm Emanuel, Mitch McConnell, David Axelrod, and a host of other (slightly) fictionalized key political figures recount Obama’s path from charismatic rising star of the Democratic Party to two-term commander in chief in impressive detail. The running commentary effectively parses the significant events of the Obama presidency through a spectrum of solidly reasoned, clearly delineated opposing perspectives. The humor functions on a higher level than the expected potshots reaffirming media stereotypes of the parties involved (though they are also present); the laughs derive more from the intensity of a respondent’s interpretation of an issue, say, than from facile observations of Biden’s buffoonery, the Clintons’ ruthlessness and appetites, etc. The narrative’s most compelling character is first lady Michelle Obama, presented here as unfailingly reasonable, perceptive, and canny about the realities of Washington, D.C.—e.g., “race has been tripping up politicians of every political persuasion since America became a country”; “I don’t know that electing someone like Governor Romney would really be all that much of a change, given American history.” Offhand lines mocking John Edwards’ sleaziness or Cheney’s viciousness raise chuckles, but it is Michelle’s voice that will stick most with readers: wise, rueful, and human, telling the incredible story of an unprecedented moment in American politics and race relations.

Funny, insightful, and legitimately illuminating.

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239979-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2016

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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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