Susan Faludi's Backlash (p. 1133) and Paula Kamen's Feminist Fatale (p. 1137) sounded the alarm: Feminism in America is in trouble. Now Davis (Living Alive!, 1980, etc.) offers a calmer, more optimistic historical perspective in which feminism never died but only dispersed and lost momentum for a while. The women's movement is dead, the media proclaimed in the 1980's (a myth perpetrated by the New Right, according to Faludi, and through the fault of older feminists, according to Kamen). Here, Davis offers the facts: that feminism, like other civil- rights movements, has always made progress in waves, between which there have been periods of regression; that, historically, feminism has been hindered by the conflict between ``equality'' feminism and ``a kind of separate-but-equal movement''; that, though the feminist movement became less visible after the defeat of the ERA in the 70's, it in fact dispersed into myriad submovements, including the fight for equality for women of color, the women's health-care movement, the lesbian movement, and so on. Historically, such diversity is not a bad idea, Davis maintains. Factions that clash within one large group, rendering it ineffective (e.g., the conflict within NOW between white middle- class women and women of color), can often make progress separately, banding together in coalitions for individual causes. Such banding, Davis says, is now occurring on a global scale—a movement, along with the younger generation's gradual awakening to feminist issues through abortion rights, date rape, and other personally involving experiences, that may well prove to be even more successful in the upcoming ``third wave.'' In any case, the progress made in the 1970's was phenomenal, and younger feminists have a firmer base from which to crusade for fairer treatment and a more comprehensive awareness of all women's needs. Davis's levelheaded analysis of how and why some feminist efforts succeed and some fail should provide an invaluable source of information and inspiration for many.
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)