Though the Gallos' wines might repulse you and their reputation give you the willies, their autobiography is worth a look, if only to get another side of the picture. Without too much pain, the brothers Gallo (with Henderson, And The Sea Will Tell, not reviewed) get past their aw-shucks-work- hard-and-get-anywhere drapery to their nuts-and-bolts shtick: control and marketing (with a nod to hard work, like 120-hour weeks and an annual six months on the road). Marketing: Gallo wine is where it is today—the number-one seller in America—because the brothers got their goods into the hands of savvy distributors, folks who got the wine at eye-level in supermarkets across the land and fused Bartles & James wine coolers into the national retina via television. Control: Need a decent glass supplier? Build a glassworks. Having competition trouble? Slash your prices and crush the buggers. Certain problems are tactfully ignored, like those surrounding Thunderbird, a Gallo-produced down-and-outer's wine rumored to have been marketed by strewing the bottles along skid rows to give the fortified concoction a high profile. Other problems are glossed over: The Gallos' controversial (some might say fascistic) treatment of labor is couched in terms of conflicts between unions (the Teamsters vs. the United Farm Workers). But there is a wealth of background material: family travails, like the murder/suicide of the brothers' parents; Depression days when they sold bulk lots of grapes at railroad sidings; the formation of trade organizations; Julio's obituary for his son Phillip, another suicide, which is enough to break your heart; children spurning the family business; and a vision of Gallo in the 21st century. Whether or not you buy into this version of the Gallo story, it's a family saga with all the makings of a television miniseries: adversity, intrigue, tragedy, manipulation, greed, and a slick presentation. (60 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-8129-2454-1

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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