Feels like more like a padded magazine article than a labor of passion.

DEATH AND THE SUN

A MATADOR’S SEASON IN THE HEART OF SPAIN

Journalist Lewine debuts in time-honored Hemingway fashion with a blow-by-blow look at the classical art of the bullfighter.

Refreshingly, Lewine is not out to bash the literary lion who so famously tread the corrida de toros before him. Instead, he seeks to emulate Hemingway with such faintly familiar descriptions as this one of his story’s matador hero: “Fran was 28 years old and as good-looking as any man had a right to be.” During recent bullfighting season stretching from March to September, Lewine accompanied the traveling cuadrilla (entourage) of reigning matador Francisco Rivera Ordóñez. Fran’s several forebears starred in The Sun Also Rises and The Dangerous Summer; his father died a national hero after a sensational goring in 1984. Once a “phenom,” the fighter has just separated from his wife and is still recovering from distractions that often plague the celebrity matadors, always eager to please a fickle public intent on the next young hero. Embarking with his company on a punishing road trip via minivan crisscrossing Spain, Fran performs respectably, even triumphantly in dozens of ferias (civil festivals), gaining ears and losing ears as he tries to reestablish his waning reputation. Lewine trots along in his glamorous wake, explaining in laymen’s terms the finer points of this 18th-century bloodletting ritual. Bullfighting is more art than sport, the author reminds us, since a sport contains the suspense of not knowing who will win, and the bull never wins. Lewine examines the three qualities a good matador must display—parar (to stop), mandar (to command) and templar (to avoid extremes)—and discourses on the elegant maneuvers of the muleta cape. He visits a bull-breeding ranch in Seville, introduces the peons involved in a cuadrilla and offers plenty of unflinching ringside action. His prose is workmanlike and restrained, but seldom enthralling.

Feels like more like a padded magazine article than a labor of passion.

Pub Date: July 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-26325-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2005

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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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