A delightfully readable tour of a remarkable career among the rich and famous.

SUMMING UP

A PROFESSIONAL MEMOIR

Fields (Gloriana, 2018, etc.) recalls an eventful life as a lawyer representing celebrities in the film, television, and music industries. 

The author spent his entire professional career as an attorney, and he began by litigating courts-martial in the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. After he left the military in 1955, he started a practice in Los Angeles and eventually garnered a stellar reputation, representing major stars, including Wayne Rogers (best known as “Trapper” John on the TV series M*A*S*H), Dustin Hoffman, and Michael Jackson. Instead of a historically exhaustive and chronologically linear autobiography, Fields furnishes a collection of anecdotal vignettes that focus on his extraordinary experience as a lawyer, and many consist of only a few pages of impressionistic remembrances. His insider’s look into the world of the famous is sometimes artfully revealing. For example, Fields was already one of Jackson’s lawyers when the singer was accused of sexually abusing a child; he resigned due to what he saw as Elizabeth Taylor’s interference. (He says that he remains convinced that Jackson was innocent of the charges, however.) Other tales are much lighter in tone; for instance, Gore Vidal turned to Fields when a movie studio refused to credit his work on the screenplay for the 1987 film The Sicilian. Fields won his case, but then Vidal, after seeing the movie, exclaimed, “Keep my name off that piece of shit!” The author also fired Donald Trump as a client, he says, because he was disgusted by a deceitful strategy that the real estate mogul employed. The author’s world seems to be full of famous people; he began writing books, he says, after Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, encouraged him after reading one of his legal briefs. Still, the repeated references to celebrities never feel like gratuitous name-dropping. Overall, Fields’ prose style is wry, lighthearted, and crisply straightforward, and the memoir as a whole is impressively humble given the author’s many accomplishments. His book should appeal broadly to lawyers and nonlawyers alike. 

A delightfully readable tour of a remarkable career among the rich and famous. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9998527-5-0

Page Count: 330

Publisher: Marmont Lane Books

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2019

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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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