An authentic memoir of an openly gay, 10-year member of the U.S. armed forces.
With writerly panache and a refreshingly direct tone, the 40-year-old Jones relates the story of his life. He grew up as a middle child plagued by ADHD under the watchful eye of an Air Force officer father and a mother who became a born-again Christian and an anti-sugar health-food fanatic. He chronicles the family’s many relocations due to his father’s military service—first to Korea, where he explored subterranean tunnels with his brother Marc; and then to Arizona; Cairo; and finally Austin, Texas, where his parents enrolled him in a strictly regimented “boy’s ranch.” The school, however, only ended up distancing him from his parents further, as he inched closer to acknowledging and consummating his homosexual feelings. Desperate to “prove to the world that this ‘faggot’ would accomplish what tens of thousands of straight men had failed to do,” Jones enlisted in the Navy, and his bold journey to become a SEAL began in boot camp during an icy northern Illinois winter. Along the way, he furtively socialized in a clandestine gay club in Mississippi and made two attempts at surmounting a particularly grueling Hell Week during SEAL training in Southern California. He depicts his military service in spirited chapters that offer readers a vicarious view of troop platoon life. He engagingly crafts his most vivid memories into nostalgic anecdotes; some are harrowing, such as a near-death experience he had as a child, and some are unjust and humiliating, such as his military discharge in 2003 for reported homosexual behavior. Jones is a talented writer who quickly gets his story across without unnecessary exposition. He brings a sharp personal perspective to the final chapter: a letter to his young son about how to live life fearlessly and without regret. Readers interested in the experience of being gay in the military, and its former “don’t ask, don’t tell” conundrum, will find Jones’ memoir a rewarding experience.
An unflinchingly honest autobiography written with brevity, charm, passion and immense patriotism.
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)