I'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS!

A MEMOIR

Raconteur Buchwald (Leaving Home, 1993, etc.) checks in with the second installment of his memoirs. It's full of lively anecdotes, and dropped names are as plentiful as autumn leaves in the Bois de Boulogne. Picking up the narrative where Leaving Home left off, Buchwald blithely relates what happened after he landed, in 1948, what may have been the world's greatest postwar job: writing for the Herald Tribune in Paris. As an entertainment columnist and food critic for the paper, Buchwald got to know, close up, corporate bigwigs, politicians, showbiz luminaries, and other assorted stars of the International Set. While he was earning $25 a week, young Art hobnobbed with the likes of Truman Capote and Elvis Presley, Thornton Wilder and J. Paul Getty. He did a one-night stand as a waiter at Maxim's. He crashed fancy dress balls. He helped further Prince Rainier's courtship of Grace Kelly, and he mediated (with hilarious results) a dispute between the Greek magnates Onassis and Niarchos. He challenged Rex Harrison (who had taken umbrage at one of his columns) to a duel. (Harrison didn't show.) By dint of sincere application and a droll gift for puncturing pomposity wherever he found it, he rose to the position of bon vivant wonderfully. Even better, he found and married the redoubtable Ann, and they in turn adopted three children. Ultimately, though, the high life took its toll; there was a struggle with depression and a period of separation from Ann. On the whole, however, the memoir is about the fun and romance of a now vanished time. ``All of my writing since,'' Buchwald notes, ``has been the result of my landing that job on the Trib.'' While this current installment is not as Dickensian as the widely praised Leaving Home, Buchwald's self-deprecating wit is in full display. Some stories are unabashedly sentimental; all are entertaining. Paris never looked better. (First printing of 100,000; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 1996

ISBN: 0-399-14187-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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