This book doesn't actually deserve three stars; it just barely rates 2. I'm not sure whether Schoenberg simply didn't have enough time (or couldn't b This book doesn't actually deserve three stars; it just barely rates 2½. I'm not sure whether Schoenberg simply didn't have enough time (or couldn't be bothered) to complete the work properly- it does have a sort of unfinished feel. On the other hand, it could be that my standards are too high, and the average NPR listener (at whom this book is supposedly aimed) is considerably more stupid, or at least ignorant, than I would have suspected. If you already know anything at all about jazz, this book will be nearly useless to you; the only useful information I found in it was at the very end, in the short list of suggested further reading. I am very happy that I got my copy of this book gratis, from the "Free Box" at King Books, and I would suggest that paying for a copy would be a waste of money......more
Ben Ratliff is a talented writer- I thought his Coltrane: The Story of a Sound was excellent; besides that, nobody writes for the New York Times for Ben Ratliff is a talented writer- I thought his Coltrane: The Story of a Sound was excellent; besides that, nobody writes for the New York Times for well over a decade unless they are pretty damned skillful at writing. Mr. Ratliff is also a far more advanced scholar of jazz than I'll probably ever be, which is not particularly surprising given the fact that he makes his living that way. Although I also worked as a music journalist for a few years in my early twenties, the newspapers I worked for were not even remotely in the same class as the New York Times. I was rarely paid (and then very, very little) and in addition I did not have the luxury of covering jazz, as my bosses felt (probably correctly) that there was little or no audience for coverage of any type of music other than the various forms of rock (and a token amount of country at one particular paper, primarily due to the fact that the publisher liked country music and insisted on featuring it occasionally). Having said all that, I have some serious issues with this book, especially with the choices the author made regarding which recordings to include, and the reasoning behind those choices.
[I need to think through these issues a bit more, preferably without my dogs crying in my ear to go outside for the umpteenth time tonight, which tends to make it difficult to concentrate, so I will continue this at a later date...]...more
Not completely worthless, but riddled with both factual and typographical errors. The style of the prose is fairly atrocious as well. I am very glad Not completely worthless, but riddled with both factual and typographical errors. The style of the prose is fairly atrocious as well. I am very glad that I did not have to pay for the copy I read, and I would not recommend that anyone else should do so. In defense of the author, I've heard a couple of his radio shows, and they are far better than this book......more
Yet another book from the "Free Box"! I grabbed this more or less as an afterthought on the way out the door, and was later absolutely shocked to fin Yet another book from the "Free Box"! I grabbed this more or less as an afterthought on the way out the door, and was later absolutely shocked to find that this little paperback is absolutely crammed full of amazingly high quality maps, which cover so-called Western Civilisation essentially from the very beginning (roughly 1400 B.C.) right up to the 1960s, and do so in extraordinary detail for a quite small book which was fairly cheap even when new... If you are the type of individual, as I am, who tends to look things up frequently as a matter of course while reading, this would make an extremely useful addition to the reference section of your library- my copy is as of now earmarked for the miniature reference section I keep next to my reading chair (which currently consists of paperback or small hardcovers of: The Oxford American Dictionary/Roget's College Thesaurus/Latin, German, French & Spanish-English Dictionaries/The Wordsworth Dictionary of Military Biography/Modern World Coins, 13th Ed./and now this nice atlas!). Although this work is obviously somewhat dated at this point, that would obviously only be an issue if one were reading about post-1970 events, which is not likely to happen on a daily basis or anything like that, unless of course one's particular field of interest/study happens to be post-1970. The only drawback to this atlas from my point of view is that there is little coverage of the colonial era, but that is only a minor quibble. In fact, I would recommend making the slight effort to track down a copy of this book as they seem to be very inexpensive, at least online....more
Boring and repetitive in the extreme. There are far better books available on this subject; I am very glad that I borrowed this copy instead of buyin Boring and repetitive in the extreme. There are far better books available on this subject; I am very glad that I borrowed this copy instead of buying one myself. ...more