More for Waugh scholars than for admirers of his fiction, this massive volume brings together nearly 50 years of book-reviews, newspaper columns, letters-to-the-editor, and essays. The earliest pieces, 1917-1930, include some mild society-satires, stern musings on Youth ("this crazy and sterile generation"), an essay on Waugh specialty Rossetti (a recurring subject throughout)—as well as an impressive paean to Henry Green's "neglected masterpiece" Living, with a sideswipe at literary critics. ("They are young ladies, not outstandingly brilliant at anything, who have failed to make a success with poultry.") The 1930s bring Waugh's conversion to Catholicism, with the first of his many tetchy religious polemics; even more knowingly abrasive are his political commentaries—praising Italy's action in Ethiopia, arguing the "many redeeming virtues" of slavery, but insistently distinguishing his conservatism from fascism; the period's book-review standouts are bouquets for Wodehouse, brickbats for Huxley ("the old Golden Bough trouble at its worst"), and keen recognition of Georges Bernanos' talent. And the postwar years are largely dominated by longer, less pithy restatements of Waugh's Catholic/ conservative viewpoints: grapplings with the not-quite-orthodox Catholic fiction of Graham Greene; attacks on Tito's anti-Christian regime; arguments against Vatican modernizations in the 1960s; put-downs of Hollywood, including a sketch for The Loved One; and, as always, tight-lipped scoldings of the Young—from literary rabble-rouser John Wain to ill-bred oafs who no longer change into evening dress for dinner. Throughout, there's less sharp humor than one might expect. (Most nastily amusing: a send-up of dense, distorting foreign journalists.) The subject-matters are often narrow, idiosyncratic, or merely the stuff of workaday-journalism. But connoisseurs of the graver Waugh styles will find stretches of elegant prose in every decade; and Gallagher's extensive introductory material (plus a ten-page list of the articles not included here) helps to make this a substantial addition to the Waughreference shelf.
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)