A very appealing snack that whets the appetite for more substantial courses.

LONDON’S THAMES

THE RIVER THAT SHAPED A CITY AND ITS HISTORY

From Julius Caesar to the Millennium Wheel—a look at London’s history with its storied river ever in the foreground.

To say this is a brisk book is to understate the speed of its current. Many chapters—all aptly and generously illustrated—comprise fewer than 10 pages, and most summarize situations that other writers have found sufficient to fill sturdy volumes of cultural and riverine history, some of which appear in the bibliography. Weightman has a different agenda, however: He wishes to introduce us to the richness of his subject by offering slivers with the certain knowledge that the curious will proceed to the local library for more sizeable slices. The author, who demonstrated that ice is nice in his previous work (The Frozen Water Trade, 2003), sketches the history of the earliest settlements along the river (the Romans were looking for a crossing, not a site for a city), narrates the stories of London’s many bridges (some of which, indeed, fell down), offers us snippets about the Great Fire and the infrequent frost fairs held on the frozen surface, tells the tales of some significant sites along the river, most notably St. Paul’s and the Tower. He examines the cloacal function of the river through most of its history and notes that in the 1830s Londoners who drank city water were essentially consuming their own sewage. Although pollution prevented fish from living in the waters, clean-up activities over the past half-century have worked so well that some 120 species now swim by Parliament each day. Weightman offers snapshots, as well, of the Cambridge-Oxford rowing race, of early tunneling under the river, of the arrival of the railroads. Most eerily, he ends with a discussion of the dangers of catastrophic flooding, a threat that most Londoners ignore.

A very appealing snack that whets the appetite for more substantial courses.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-312-34017-6

Page Count: 165

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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