WAITING FOR WINTER TO END

AN EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY THROUGH SOVIET CENTRAL ASIA

A veteran foreign correspondent undertakes here what she calls a ``consummately unfashionable'' journey through what used to be called Soviet Central Asia. Actually, the journey is both consummately fashionable and somewhat glibly undertaken. But Geyer (Guerrilla Prince, 1991, etc.) does convey the sense of penetrating an alien, volatile, and sometimes threatening society. In Moscow, we see an eerie ``holy fool'' gibbering at a corner of Red Square—and a suave businessman genuflecting before him. And so it is with some trepidation that our valiant correspondent dons her money belt and heads for remote Tatarstan. The Tatars she sees as the key to Russian identity, their oppression of Muscovy in the Middle Ages having turned Russia against outsiders. Today, in the peeling, hallucinatory city of Kazan she finds a resurgent nationalism that is almost touching in its naãvetÇ as a people submerged by Russian power since Ivan the Terrible's conquest in 1552 is budding once more—and thumbing a nose at its former master. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan: It's an enjoyable trek, all in all, but a pervading superciliousness dims Geyer's larger ambitions. For example, in Uzbekistan, she visits the Shah-i-Zinda complex of mausoleums, where Qasim ibn Abbas (who brought Islam to Central Asia) is buried. The episode is thrown in touristically, simply because it happened and because one of the self-described ``stock-brokers'' who had come with her from Samarkand suddenly goes into a kind of trance. It is a strange and curious moment, but Geyer cannot rise to it. She simply says ``I actually began to tremble'' and casually mentions the ``awe'' of the event. This is a good book, but it also reminds the reader that a certain kind of self-importance blunts an otherwise receptive mind, and that travelogues and journalism require different sensibilities that are hard to sew together. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-02-881110-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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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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