THE LOST HEART OF ASIA

Shimmering dispatches from the far, far reaches of the geographical imagination, from the captivating, highly polished hand of Thubron (Turning Back the Sun, 1992, etc.). To say that central Asia is a place rich in history and legend is to put it mildly: land of the rivers Oxus and Jaxartes, of Samarkand and Tashkent, of Alexander, Tamerlane, and the great Khans...Kafiristan! Thubron drops in to measure its doings since the Great Fall of '91. He discovers a moody and unsettled place. From the endless cotton fields of the central plateau to the shepherds of the high Pamirs, all is in flux. Some towns are raucous with a sense of freedom and possibility; others just can't get their wheels turning, stuck with the political hacks of yesteryear, and the feeling is very much down in the dumps. At every turn Thubron bumps into one religious movement or another: Baptists in Kirgizhia, German Mennonites in Uzbekistan, a synagogue here, a cathedral there, and—not surprisingly—so many mosques you couldn't throw a brick without hitting one. The weaving of Islam into the political life of the republics, though still nascent, is a foregone conclusion, and the people of the region voice the same fears expressed everywhere whenever church invades state: the possibilities of sexual discrimination, religious persecution, interference in education (not that the nation-state has necessarily done so well in these venues, locals add). Thubron laces the narrative with gobs of history. Each place he visits comes drenched in a mythic past, and not just the ancient variety typified by Mongol hordes and the silk road, but also some of the more recent vintages: gulags pepper the land, and it was in Kazakhstan that the Soviets tested their atomic weapons and built the vilest of their heavy industry. Life has always been eventful in Central Asia; no doubt it will remain so. And if Thubron can't predict the future, he does provide all manner of telling detail to bring the region out of fable and onto terra firma. (First serial to CondÇ Nast Traveler)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-018226-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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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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