Occasionally tiresome, but Pincher provides a comprehensive, almost irrefutable indictment.



A British military-intelligence specialist exhaustively recounts his country’s woeful 60-year record countering Soviet spying.

Espionage expert Pincher (The Spycatcher Affair, 1988, etc.) digs deep to prove that Roger Hollis, who served from 1936 to 1965 in Britain’s MI-5, was really a Russian agent, code-named “Elli.” Drawing on recently opened Soviet archives, the vast literature recounting British counterintelligence failures and a lifetime of high-level sources developed in England and America, Pincher compiles a damning, if circumstantial, dossier against Hollis, whose lengthy career spans a time made notorious by a number of traitorous names. They include the so-called Cambridge Five—Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt, John Cairncross, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess—atomic spy Klaus Fuchs and disgraced cabinet minister John Profumo, whose liaison with model Christine Keeler brought down Harold Macmillan’s government. Pincher also deals with numerous, less well-known characters, notably Ursula Hamburger, or “Sonia,” “the most influential female secret agent of all time.” The author’s surfeit of detail, roll call of shady characters and catalogue of outrageous episodes, misdeeds, deceptions, lies and cover-ups have two effects. First, they underscore Pincher’s immense authority and the overwhelming evidence against Hollis; second, they weary all but the most intensely interested readers. Still, the Hollis matter has for the Brits the same fascination—and features the same furious contention—as the Alger Hiss case once held for Americans. After this book, Hollis’s defenders will be reduced to ascribing the staggering number of documented failures on his watch “merely” to spectacular negligence.

Occasionally tiresome, but Pincher provides a comprehensive, almost irrefutable indictment.

Pub Date: July 7, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6807-4

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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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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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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