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Per altres autors anomenats James R. Gaines, vegeu la pàgina de desambiguació.

8 obres 930 Membres 13 Ressenyes 2 preferits

Sobre l'autor

A native of Dayton, Ohio, James R. Gaines is the former managing editor of Time, Life, and People magazines and the author of several books, including Wit's End: Days and Nights of the Algonquin Round Table and, most recently, Evening in the Palace of Reason, a book that explains the clash of the mostra'n més Baroque and the Enlightenment and the conflict between faith and reason through the music of Johann Sebastian Bach mostra'n menys

Obres de James R. Gaines


Coneixement comú

Data de naixement
Llocs de residència
Washington D.C, USA
Paris, France
McBurney School
University of Michigan
Time Inc.



The Fifties: An Underground History by James R Gaines is an interesting read highlighting a few of the people who helped pave the way for what became the gay rights, feminist, civil rights, and environmental movements.

The portraits of these people make for fascinating reading and the documentation for anyone wanting to read further is extensive. This not only gives credit where it has sometimes been scarce but serves as a great starting point for readers who want to know more.

I do have two relatively minor issues, one of which will likely be corrected before publication. First, I am afraid the hyperbole of the marketing copy will turn some people off. No one believes these movements formed ex nihilo in the 60s, of course there were people in the 50s, and before, who went against the status quo. That does not "upend the myth of the fifties," it simply shows who some of these people were.

My second issue, while likely corrected in the final version, makes me question just what Gaines' foundational knowledge is in some areas. He no doubt is well read and intelligent, but to attribute Bigger Thomas to Ralph Ellison would seem to show exactly where his blind spots are in his literary and cultural history. That goes a bit beyond a typo or incorrect dates, it is attributing a major character to the incorrect major author. This happened in the introduction which put the entire rest of the book under a cloud for me.

Those things aside I would still recommend this book to those interested in reading about early figures in social justice issues as well as those who like to read about something other than the dominant narrative about the middle of the last century.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
… (més)
pomo58 | Aug 20, 2021 |
This book is a collection of 8 essays copiously illustrated with B&W pictures and reproductions.

Several of the essays included some concerns:
- Piano is no longer considered “an indispensable piece of furniture in the homes of the genteel” (Page 16)
- The repertoire that audiences expect and enjoy hasn’t changed in decades.
- The pressure on child prodigies (some of whom wrote for this book)
- Artistic expression versus public approval

“Some pianos are born chamber music instruments. They are pretty, but they never have a big enough sound for a concert hall. Other pianos have a huge voice, which many artists cannot control.” (Franz Mohr, page 103) I found the statement “… which many artists cannot control” quite interesting. Mohr has also stated (it may have been in a different book) that he can tell early on whether a piano is capable of developing that huge voice.

Chapter 3 goes into the making of a Bosendorfer and describes some differences between it and a Steinway.

As I practiced Hanon exercise #17, I thought of the gadget on page 29 which claimed ti "strengthen hands which in fact could cripple them."

It didn't take too long to read it, and it was well worth reading.
… (més)
bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
I don't know where this came from, but it is excellent, and makes me think of Jacques Barzun, in James Gaines's seeming familiarity with these historical characters.
keithhamblen | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | May 19, 2019 |
May 1747. A 62-year-old German musician from Leipzig comes to visit his second son in Potsdam, where he is a member of the royal orchestra, and is immediately summoned to meet the 35-year-old monarch. The King -- known to history as Frederick the Great -- gives the older man -- the renowned Johann Sebastian Bach -- walks over to the keyboard and plays a sequence of 21 notes, which he then invites Bach to improve into a three-voice fugue. Once this task has been successfully completed, the King then demands a SIX-voice fugue, which the composer suggests is impossible on such short notice. But, upon his return to Leipzig, Bach not only writes out the requested six-voice fugue but sends the King a series of canons and other works (some 13 pieces in all) based on the theme, sending them back to Potsdam within two months. -- Such is the basis of James R. Gaines's excellent book "Evening in the Palace of Reason." Although there are elements of dual biography here (in alternating chapters, Gaines shares the lives of King and composer), the book is more a meditation on two contrasting world-views -- one based on the tenants of deeply-held Christian faith, the other on the strict rationality of the developing Enlightenment -- at something of a crossroads of the history of human thought and belief. The final pages of Gaines's analysis of Bach's achievement, adhering to his faith in the face of Frederick's power-politics, are deeply moving and rousing. -- The author writes, for the most part, with clarity and wit. (I found some of the more technical explanations of musical structure a bit difficult at times.) I recommend the book to anyone who might find these subjects of interest. -- I must confess, however, somewhat to my dismay, that I found two historical errors: (1) The throne of England did -not- pass to the descendants of Sophia, Electress of Hanover, "after the last Stuart king, James II, died without a successor" (p. 37), but after the end of the -Protestant- Stuart line. (2) Charles Albert (Charles VII), the Holy Roman Emperor, was -not- "formerly elector of Bohemia," but was, in fact, the Elector of Bavaria (p. 207). (I always worry about finding such errors -- I want to be able to trust the authors of the books I read for complete accuracy, and, when I find mistakes of this kind, I begin to wonder about the reliability of everything else in the book! :-(… (més)
David_of_PA | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Jul 14, 2018 |



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