WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST

THE EARLY YEARS, 1863-1910

An intensely detailed but still superficial chronicle of the media baron’s life through early middle age. Hearst newspapers didn’t tell the news; they used it as a means for conveying a point of view. When the news did not fit the mold Hearst envisioned, he and his minions reshaped it until it did. Procter (History/Texas Christian Univ.) tells this part of Hearst’s story extremely well. Hearst revolutionized journalism by demonstrating how powerful it could be as a means to an end, with making money far less important than promoting Hearst’s political causes and aspirations, and vilifying those who opposed them. Contrary to Hearst’s popular image, the causes he relentlessly promoted when he was first building his empire were remarkably progressive: an eight-hour day, utility and railroad regulation, the right to organize. Muckraking works like Sinclair Lewis’s The Jungle were serialized in Hearst papers, and Tammany Hall, scared that Hearst would end corruption if he became mayor of New York, blatantly stole the election. Procter worked hard on this book, reading, he says, every issue of such Hearst newspapers as the New York Journal (later the New York American) and the San Francisco Examiner over several years. But just as Hearst newspapers often revealed little of the facts beneath the hype, Procter reveals too little of the man who orchestrated the show. We have no idea, for example, whether Hearst pursued progressive causes out of true conviction or as a means of mobilizing America’s burgeoning urban working class as readers of his newspapers and soldiers marching behind his banner. One fears that the promised second volume will be as frustrating as the first—that we will learn as little about why Hearst swung so sharply to the right in his later years as we do about why he was so progressive early on. Procter’s biography, like the Hearst newspapers of the period he chronicles, is great reading, but too much on the surface, shedding too little light on the realities underneath. (20 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: April 23, 1998

ISBN: 0-19-511277-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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