AFRICAN LAUGHTER

FOUR VISITS TO ZIMBABWE

Leasing, once a "Prohibited Immigrant" barred from her childhood homeland of Rhodesia by its white minority government, returns to what is now Zimbabwe—and in inimitably forthright style records her impressions. The author last visited her homeland in the late 50's, when the country was a British colony, not as rigidly segregated as South Africa but nonetheless dominated by a white ruling class that enjoyed a way of life impossible elsewhere. When she returned in 1982, Zimbabwe was just two years old, and blacks and whites were still bitterly divided as well as devastated by the ten-year bush war that had pitted blacks against whites as well as blacks against blacks. The countryside seemed equally devastated ("...the game mostly gone. The bush was silent"), and squatters were overfarming already fragile lands. Most whites whom Lessing met, including her brother, delivered what she called "The Monologue," as much a racist critique as a display of the after-effects of a tremendous shock. On her three subsequent visits, the last made earlier this year, race relations proved healthier, but Prime Minister Mugabe's government seemed increasingly autocratic and corrupt; the economy was poorly organized along socialist lines; a terrible drought had ravaged the region; and unemployment continued to rise, especially among the young. On these visits, Lessing talked to a range of contacts, black and white; stayed on farms where white owners were trying out new crops to boost the local economy; accompanied the multiracial Book Team, which helps rural women create "how-to" textbooks; and traveled fearfully to her childhood home, where the beloved bush had disappeared and "everything spoke of failure." Always the fair-minded realist, Leasing isn't overly optimistic about the future, but her sympathetic account of Zimbabwe's struggle to forge a common destiny is most worthwhile.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1992

ISBN: 0060924330

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

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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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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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