Debut author Douglas reflects on a life of extraordinary academic and professional achievement and on the obstacles that prejudice put in his path.
The author was born in 1943 in Guyana, where he was a “questioning, innocent, poor kid from a colonial country fighting for its independence.” Despite suffering under the weight of poverty—an adult and three children, including himself, lived in his single-room home—he excelled academically and eventually earned a scholarship to New York City’s Queens College and then a Fulbright scholarship to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. His scholastic achievement and his faith in God—he was a “boy preacher” in an Evangelical church—helped him to navigate his way out of a country that promised more political unrest than opportunity. The author devoted himself zealously to the study of physical chemistry and would go on to earn not only a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh,but also a doctorate from Cornell University before advancing to medical school. But despite his accomplishments, he says, he encountered bigotry everywhere. To Douglas’ great dismay, he even discovered racial prejudice among church members who preached about loving inclusion—an experience that first made him doubt his faithful commitments and then compelled him to break with religion entirely. It was a difficult decision, and he discusses it with thoughtfulness and subtlety in these pages. Overall, Douglas’ story is an inspiring one, and readers will find it remarkable how he continually was able to persevere in the face of daunting challenges. Also, he provides a candid, general anatomy of racism in the United States based on his own experience. However, the author’s recollection is too granularly detailed at times; for example, he lingers too long on specifics about classes he took and the minutiae of office politics,which has a tendency to overshadow his treatment of broader themes.
An often bracing reflection on racial discrimination and bias.
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)