Simon, former critic for the old Metronome magazine, friend of Miller for a time, and author of several books on the Swing era, has produced a solid biography of the man and his band which is, happily, free of inconsequential bus/booze anecdotes. Miller was a rigid disciplinarian: grueling rehearsals, chew-out sessions and dictates on dress -- down to the last handkerchief fold. But he could also be unexpectedly kind, was a devoted husband and father, a hard worker and a superb, self-confident organizer. Simon details the struggle upward until the final success. Simon offers all those notations loved by the cognoscenti: the movements and contributions of players, singers, arrangers, managers, etc.; interviews with many; and the evolution of that reed-section sound. The accounts of the amazing accomplishments of Miller's Army band and his tragic (the author hints unnecessary) plane death are unusually thorough, and Simon does not avoid the fact that the band was becoming mechanical and uninspired. Earnest and appreciative and occasionally In the Mood.