Set to come out on the 25th anniversary of the New York Times's publication of the Pentagon Papers—the 7,000-page secret history of the government's Vietnam War decision-making commissioned by Robert S. McNamara in 1967—Rudenstine's book is a remarkable achievement. Law professor Rudenstine (Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School) has mined the primary and secondary sources, interviewed three dozen important players, and unearthed new evidence. The result: a very readable political narrative with scholarly analysis of the landmark case. The excerpts and analyses of the papers that ran in the New York Times represented the largest unauthorized disclosure of classified documents in American history. The Nixon administration's effort to stop the Times (and later the Washington Post) marked the first time in American history that the government had sued to prevent newspapers from disclosing information for national security reasons. District Judge Murray Gurfein's order to cease publishing the material in question was the first time an American judge had taken such action against a newspaper. This substantive book's value lies in the breadth of the narrative, the sharpness of Rudenstine's analyses of the case's legal aspects, and the author's surprising but persuasively argued conclusion that the papers ``contained information that could have seriously harmed national security if disclosed.'' The government was unable to convince a majority of the US Supreme Court of that fact. And, as Rudenstine points out, the newspapers did not publish anything that had a negative impact on peace talks or that compromised diplomatic initiatives outside Vietnam. The Supreme Court chose ``to risk the dangers inherent in a freer press because the alternative resolution—enhancing government power to censor the press—was even more threatening to a stable and vital democracy.'' Nothing less than the definitive account of the Pentagon Papers case. (37 b&w photographs)
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)