The best thing to come out of Raymond Sokolov's fussy biography of A.J. Liebling, Wayward Reporter (1980), may be the republication, in one volume, of Francophile Liebling's four books of diverse encounters with the French—French generals being of no less "obsessional interest" to him than French restaurants. Briefly but serviceably introduced by Sokolov, they comprise the two books of wartime New Yorker dispatches—on "fighting, politics, and peasantry"—The Road Back to Paris and Mollie & Other War Pieces; Normandy Revisited (1958), which takes the middle-aged Liebling, in a chauffeured car, back to the scenes of his student days and his wartime engagements; and Between Meals (1962), subtitled "An Appetite for Paris" and a non pareil celebration of oysters and wine, chefs and proprietors—from childhood. The exuberance, the feeling for place and character, the attention to "rudimentary things"—and always the unexpected word, the edged phrase—continue to delight and astonish.

Pub Date: May 1, 1981

ISBN: 0872236439

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Playboy Press

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1981



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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