Displaying articles for: June 2008
tary cooperation, local involvement, and minimal federal intervention. "The New Deal put its faith in grass-roots democracy," writes Badger. FDR viewed business as vital, but he loathed the sort of corporate and financial irresponsibility that he believed fostered the 1929 stock market crash. FDR?s goal, notes Badger, was "to get the market to operate in a more open and transparent way" so as to protect the public interest. Badger?s fresh and admirably fair-minded look at the New Deal?s beginnings takes readers inside the White House as a new president deals day-to-day with the greatest economic crisis in this nation?s history.
cative nature in the half century since it was released. Now reissued with the addition of three bonus tracks, Freedom Suite captures the venerated tenor saxophonist at an early peak of his extra-
ordinary powers, his unfet-
tered improvisational flights bolstered by the highly inter-
active team of drummer Max Roach and bassist Oscar Pettiford. Operating without the harmonic guide of either piano or guitar -- an unusual context for the period -- the trio tackles the ambitious 19-minute title composition, and a handful of standards. The immense confidence radiated by each player elevated the disc to instant classic status: the soaring force of Rollins?s muscular horn, Roach?s melodic drumming, and Pettiford?s sumptuous harmonic support remain inspirational today -- just ask any contemporary jazz musician worth his salt. Yet, amid all this brilliance, open-ended questions continue to confound. The original album came with a (now reprinted) statement from Rollins, baldly lamenting the racial divide then plaguing the nation. Does this social message find voice in the titular suite, which, for all its strength, doesn?t consciously evoke anger or conflict in its musical expression? And what do the presence of songs composed by such status-quo figures as Harry Warren, Meredith Wilson (of Music Man fame), and Noël Coward indicate? Is the ultimate musical "freedom" Rollins?s willingness and ability to play whatever he wants, however he wishes? Fifty years later, one can still ponder. And still revel in glorious jazz making.
sest of war wounds, he is a melancholy widower. Among the many other spies afoot in these pages is German businessman Edvard Uhl, entrapped by a supposed countess into smuggling information on German tank design to the French. Uhl?s activities come to the attention of some exceedingly unpleasant Nazi secret agents, and his life becomes a problem for Mercier to solve. The only non-spy in this espionage-steeped arena seems to be Anna Szarbek, a lawyer for the League of Nations and Mercier?s serious love interest The novel moves back and forth between Warsaw and Paris with excursions, among them to the Polish-German border where our hero, creeping through the forest in his waxed Barbour field jacket, observes German military preparations and, later, to the Black Forest, where he wit-
nesses tank maneuvers. Both forays produce evidence suggesting German plans of attack for invasions of Poland and France. If you think Mercier manages to convince anyone with authority to act on his discoveries, you have forgotten your history. What we have here is a thrilling, cleverly plotted re-creation of the sort of hugger-mugger, double-dealing, and wishful thinking that marked the last crepuscular years before full-scale war plunged Europe into darkness.
The president smiles to himself; he loves war
And another one is coming soon.
Each day we can feel the merriment mount
In government offices and TV studios
As our bombers fly off to distant countries.
Simic?s poetry is clean, brutal, and accessible to even the most verse-phobic members of our population. Years from now, survivors of whatever apocalypse we?re headed toward will be reading Simic for clues to how we destroyed ourselves.
And women too. Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others. Warning: choking-up hazard.
Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.
Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.