SHADOW OVER SHANGRI-LA

A WOMAN'S QUEST FOR FREEDOM

An inspiring memoir of a Nepalese political prisoner who survived months of incarceration, witnessed the demise of her country's oppressive government in 1990, and went on to enjoy a fairy-tale romance and marriage. Politicized in early adulthood, upper-caste Pokhrel broke from her Brahmin family to fight for democracy against the ruling Panchayat regime, becoming active in the Nepali Congress and operating an opposition press. In 1981 she was arrested and imprisoned on groundless charges. While mixing chronological storytelling and flashback, she concentrates on the daily life of a Nepali women's prison, revealing it as ``institutionalized torture,'' where the goal of the state was to ``maintain a regime of unconsciousness, compliance, mindlessness, and inhumanity.'' Rather than focusing only on her survivial, Pokhrel petitioned for other prisoners. Her commitment to her country continued even after she was released, fled Nepal, attended Harvard, and married British rural development specialist (and coauthor) Willett. Her final chapter is a moving statement of her unflinching hope: She envisions the process of creating ``a conscious Nepali society established in right action.'' Pokhrel propels the story with ample dialogue and detailed description, particularly of prison conditions. Readers will not forget what she describes: starving, unwashed prisoners, beaten, repeatedly violated, suspended upside down, or shackled to wheels. Yet Pokhrel keeps these descriptions bearable by reminding herself (and us) that this is a situation that must end. If the book is not a fast read, it is because of elements that give the narrative intimacy and character: Pokhrel's formal phrasing and her digressions about the nature of freedom. Lacking the visceral excitement of a Papillon, but memorable for Pokhrel's idealism, humanity, and unflagging determination to live. (8 pages photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-57488-061-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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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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