BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS

MY LIFE IN COUNTRY MUSIC

Country boy from dirt poverty makes millions as a Nashville publisher/producer/writer. Those hoping for another howitzer of a tell-all tale like Scott Faragher's Music City Babylon (1992) will be disappointed with Killen's soft-spoken approach. Born in 1932 in Florence, Alabama, Killen grows up in a one-room shack with seven siblings, all of whom have to spend their summers chopping cotton in order to survive. The sole family entertainment is singing and playing music together and, by age 19, the talented author is working out of Nashville, at first singing and writing and then touring on the road. At this point, the narrative descends into tedious descriptions of an interminable string of bean-eating nights of second-tier performers and forgotten hopefuls. But Killen's story picks up when he puts a $50 reel-to-reel tape recorder on his car seat and starts talent-scouting and publishing. When, 35 years later, he decides to sell his publishing company, Tree, CBS gives him $40 million for it and he remains CEO. Killen indulges in some gossip here and there in his text, but by today's standards, hardly sensational: e.g., that the group Exile took so many stimulants that they fired Killen as their manager; that country- star Joe Tex, with whom the author wrote four #1 hits, got started on drugs by a woman who gave him angel dust, and that he was found dead in his swimming pool only four years later (Killen's grief for his friend's early death seems genuine). Best for country-music buffs and scholars, particularly with its descriptions of the Nashville growth years in the 50's and 60's. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: June 21, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-79540-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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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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IN MY PLACE

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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