In 12 pithy essays, an environmental lawyer debunks romantic myths of ranchers, miners, and foresters as ``heroes of the West,'' and denounces ``extreme laissez-faire'' government policies that have allowed these ``heroes'' to devastate the land, water, and air for their private profit. Instead, Wilkinson calls for an ``ethic of place'' to balance human and natural values in ways that can be sustained over time. The author portrays the often-bitter confrontations between loggers, miners, or hunters and environmentalists as reflections of our society's shifting values governing human relationships with the land. We now value biology, aesthetics, and justice for indigenous people more than the short-term economic worth of extractive industries, he says. Wilkinson's ``ethic of place'' would replace confrontational politics with a shared sense of love and responsibility for the land, and he gives several examples of how westerners might build on their already shared reverence for the land to develop this set of values. All of the examples require compromise and adjustment by both resource managers and environmentalists—e.g., ranch-consultant Allan Savori's plan to increase the number of cattle grazing on public land, having them take over the ecological niche once filled by the buffalo, while ranchers carefully monitor and control the animals' effect on the ecology. Engaging if not particularly well-integrated, Wilkinson's essays exemplify the land-based ethical systems now developing among progressive western thinkers and honorably maintain the nature-upholding tradition of John Muir and Aldo Leopold.
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)