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TURN-ONS AND TURN-OFFS IN CURRENT HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES : ****Excellent ***Good **Fair *Poor : AUDIOCASSETTES

July 14, 1987|CHARLES CHAMPLIN | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"Twentieth Century Journey: The Start" by William L. Shirer. 12 cassettes (18 hours). Books on Tape. The veteran CBS radio correspondent, whose best-selling "Berlin Diary" (1940) was a chilling day-to-day account of Hitler's rise, has latterly done a massive autobiography. (The second leg, "The Nightmare Years," is 30 hours of listening.) "The Start" is both an account of Shirer's early years and a sort of personalized account of American history from the late 19th Century forward. Large pieces of it receive a fairly straight and didactic telling, though from the viewpoint of the earnest young liberal Shirer was. The reminders of the Pullman strike and other bloody milestones in labor history and the portraits of William Jennings Bryan, Henry Ford and other figures of the period (through 1930) are a refresher course. Shirer's self-portrait is a candid look at a purposeful young fellow, and the Grover Gardner reading is straightforward. Information: (714) 548-5525. ** 1/2

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