THE CAMERA NEVER BLINKS TWICE

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF A TELEVISION JOURNALIST

The CBS anchorman tells of his globe-trotting moments—good yarns, though they're not exactly representative of his usual daily work behind a desk. As in their previous book (The Camera Never Blinks, 1977), Rather and Herskowitz, in colloquial and sometimes glib style, tell how he got that story. Venturing into Afghanistan just after the Soviet invasion in 1980, Rather and his colleagues braved fearsome chiefs, questionable food (when in doubt, eat only the inside of bread, he recommends), and a firefight to bring home an important story. In China for the 1989 student revolt, the newsman and his team finessed on-site government officials to gain enough time to transmit their video back home before their news operation was shut down. After the Berlin Wall fell, he headed directly for soon-to- topple Prague on the prescient advice of Vernon Walters, ambassador to West Germany. And shortly before Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, he garnered a frank interview with Jordan's King Hussein that, with the help of producer Don Hewitt, was quickly broadcast on 60 Minutes. Rather intercuts his chapters with brief, often folksy ``outtakes'' and isn't above laughing at himself, as when reflecting on his youthful bravado and latter-day caution in covering hurricanes. He offers a credible account of the notorious 1987 episode in which the ``CBS Evening News'' ``went black'' for six minutes (when the preceding broadcast of a tennis game finished earlier than expected), as well as an unedited transcript of the subsequent interview with Vice President (and presidential candidate) George Bush, who dodged questions about his Iran-contra involvement by nastily chiding Rather about the gap. The book closes by recounting a much-publicized 1993 speech in which Rather upbraided TV news colleagues for not pursuing quality. But his book lacks sustained reflection on how to do that—or for that matter, any mention of the struggles of Rather's nightly newscast, now third in the ratings. Enjoyable anecdotes, not much insight or history. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-09748-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more