An authoritative, if pedantic, introduction to the mercurial foreign-exchange market, where daily trading volume ranges up to $700 billion—and millions can be gained or lost on the judgments of youthful MBAs like the author. Having made a name for himself at Salomon Brothers and Bankers Trust before striking out on his own, Krieger has an insider's knowledge of a demanding profession. Unfortunately, he conveys only hints of the high-stakes game's risks and rewards, opting instead for a matter-of-fact recitation of its fundamentals. The author nonetheless provides an accessible rundown on the globe-girdling network in which nervy traders buy or sell American dollars, French francs, German marks, Japanese yen, and other hard currencies for the accounts of money-center banks, multinational corporations, securities firms, and a handful of private investors. He also makes a good job of clarifying the supply/demand forces that move the unregulated, round-the-clock market—and why it matters. But apart from self-congratulatory accounts of a few fondly remembered coups (including a killing in New Zealand kiwi), Krieger offers precious little material that's not available elsewhere in more detailed form. Indeed, he devotes the bulk of his text to a sketchy monetary history of the industrial world from Bretton Woods to the present. While the author hits such high points as 1971, the year the US went off the gold standard (creating a need for the foreign- exchange market now in existence), his narrative loses considerable momentum when he stops for explanatory background. Appreciably more interesting are Krieger's unhedged views on the greenback's prospects as a reserve currency and allied subjects. Worth noting, though, is that he borrows (without credit) from Michael M. Lewis (of Liar's Poker fame) a what-if scenario of the potentially dire consequences of an earthquake in Tokyo. An essentially academic exercise lacking in the personal perspectives that could have made it much more than a primer.
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").