Of interest only to food activists and organic-gardening buffs—who are probably already converts to the cause.



The pleasures are few, the politics plenty, in this preachy treatise on the politically correct production and consumption of food.

Known for his work as a “seed saver” and explainer of traditional Native American agricultural practices, Nabhan (The Culture of Habitat, 1997, etc.) conducts what might have been an interesting experiment in these pages: after having visited his ancestral Lebanon and eaten some nice, fresh hummus, kibbi, and baba ghannouj, he decided to weed through his pantry back home in Arizona, ditch food that was not locally produced, and thereafter, as much as possible, eat only local goodsesquite flour, cactus pads, squash, and “maybe some fat lizards, and a snake or two.” The odd and sometimes unpalatable ingredient aside, the point is a good one; most of us, Nabhan notes, eat foods that are shipped in from points of origin thousands of miles distant, foods bathed in chemicals and preservatives. Exploring what local food entails (and using a formula from other of his books), he visits Indian villages and fields in Mexico and the Southwest, as well as a few alternative farms elsewhere, drawing on the wisdom of the elders to show the rottenness of the dominant culture. Those tours over, Nabhan peppers the later pages of his account with earnest, stiff denunciations of such local produce-unfriendly entities as the World Trade Organization and Monsanto, the chemico-agribusinesses that is the world’s chief producer of genetically modified seeds. Although his intentions are good, the author’s energetic self-congratulation, clumsy prose, and florid epiphanies—“If food is the sumptuous sea of energy which we dive into and swim through every day, I have lived but one brief moment leaping like a flying fish and catching a glimmering glimpse of that sea roiling all around us”—make this a chore to read.

Of interest only to food activists and organic-gardening buffs—who are probably already converts to the cause.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-393-02017-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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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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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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