Fong-Torres, 12 years an editor at Rolling Stone and currently feature writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, presents a richly detailed life of Gram Parsons—a musician who, although his records sold poorly and he died in 1973 at the age of 26, continues to be cited as a seminal influence by musicians as diverse as Emmy Lou Harris, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, and Elvis Costello. Born into a wealthy southern family, Parsons, as Fong-Torres shows in interviews with the musician's sister and friends from Waycross, Ga., was reared by alcoholic parents who indulged him and encouraged his musical bent. His short life followed this childhood pattern with fidelity. Given to self-destruction (he died of a heroin overdose), Parsons wrote strikingly beautiful songs and trashed them in performance with compulsive drinking and drugging. At one session with a producer who shared his hobby, he fell from the piano stool and attempted to continue singing from the floor, while the producer passed out across the control board. Probably the just-say-no bunch and the he-did-it-for-art crowd will both claim him; Fong-Torres, laudably, cleaves to straight reporting. For a while, Parsons was a member of the Byrds, although only co- founders Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman received royalties—the other musicians were hired hands. He turned them on to the fun of contemporary country music, but was fired for refusing to tour South Africa. Keith Richards, with whom Parsons hung out in 1969, is quoted: ``he...redefined the possibilities of country music for me, personally. If he had lived, he probably would have redefined it for everybody.'' A more convincing tribute is offered by Emmy Lou Harris (whom Parsons ``discovered'') via her ongoing recording and performance of Parsons's songs. A skillfully drawn portrait, tragic and absorbing. (Eight pages of photos—not seen.)

Pub Date: July 10, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-70513-X

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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