A perversely prudish kiss-and-tell account by a Polish-born French woman who, as a Parisian schoolgirl in 1939, was seduced and abandoned by Sartre and also wooed by his erstwhile mate, her teacher. This is a whiny book. Though Lamblin insists that revenge is not her object, plainly it is—and if she were a better writer, that might be an enlivening motive. But in a paradox unlikely to entertain or edify the reader, Lamblin seeks to justify herself morally without confiding the full details of her story. Anyone looking for rounded portraits of the players will not find them here. Sartre (``a very poor lover'') seems to have been a cold, machinating bully who, at their first encounter, ``was wearing a sort of faded blue T-shirt of questionable cleanness. On his ill- favored face was a constellation of blackheads.'' So why kiss him? De Beauvoir, known familiarly as ``the Beaver,'' comes off as selfish but less decisive; she remains a friend, kind of, to Lamblin for years after the triangular romance has ended. Their apparent villainy would be more interesting and acceptable if Lamblin had only revealed more about her dysfunctional existentialists. But, as though contrite in the act of exposure, she refuses to give the dirt, either sexual or cerebral. The best parts of the memoir concern her Jewish family's hardships as newcomers in France and as targets of wartime anti-Semitism. Otherwise, Lamblin's tense, humorless tirade tells little, though there are diverting moments of giddy, inadvertent camp: ``the Beaver had calves of steel,'' thanks to her hiking and biking habit. An enraged, high-minded squeal from an inamorata. (b&w photos, 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").
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)