Elegant, interesting, even memorable, certainly more so than most magazine writing.



New Yorker editor Remnick (King of the World, 1998, etc.) continues a happy tradition of self-anthologizing, gathering favorite pieces from the past two decades.

If there is a theme in these disparate pieces, it is to be discerned in what Remnick calls his “attempt to see someone up close, if only for a moment in time.” Thus two sterling profiles of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who may have kept himself at an Olympian remove in his gated-compound exile in Vermont, both out of Frostian disdain for his neighbors and of justifiable paranoia, given the hatred the Soviet regime felt for him. Philip Roth, another Remnick subject, keeps himself similarly inaccessible in the New York countryside, mostly so he can get his writing done; by Remnick’s account, the prolific Roth does little else, though “over the years, Roth has let himself be diverted at times from his work.” Don DeLillo won’t admit much diversion at all, unlike Václav Havel, who put a human face on Czechoslovakia’s postcommunist government by, among other things, puttering about in the halls of the presidential palace on a motor scooter. Remnick’s pieces often touch on thorny issues, as with his profile of an American-Russian couple who are shaking up the world of translation of Russian literary classics and his little study of British leader Tony Blair, who muses, just before the Iraq invasion, about getting rid of Robert Mugabe and “the Burmese lot” and concludes that such types should be removed from the stage when possible: “I don’t because I can’t, but when you can you should.” Remnick also profiles boxers, in the closing section on the sweet science, which is seemingly a passion of Remnick’s but a decided step down from the political and writerly topics he’s pursued thus far.

Elegant, interesting, even memorable, certainly more so than most magazine writing.

Pub Date: May 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-307-26358-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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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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