THE LIP

A BIOGRAPHY OF LEO DUROCHER

A largely successful attempt to set the record straight on one of baseball's stormier superstars and, perhaps, to gain him a posthumous niche in the Hall of Fame. As veteran New York Times sportswriter Eskenazi (Bill Veeck, 1987, etc.) makes clear, Durocher (a slick-fielding, light-hitting shortstop from West Springfield, Massachusetts) made the most of his limited talents. All told, he spent over 40 years in the major leagues, playing for or managing such notable clubs as the 1928 New York Yankees (with Gehrig, Ruth, etc.), the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals (of Gas House Gang fame), the 1951 New York Giants (pennant winners, thanks to Bobby Thomson's dramatic last-of-the- ninth homer), and the 1969 Chicago Cubs (whose stretch-run collapse let the New York Mets waltz to a world championship). A firm believer in his own notorious credo that ``nice guys finish last,'' Durocher (who died in 1991 at age 86) would do whatever it took to come out ahead off the diamond as well as on. A regular on the cafe-society/show-biz circuit (where he rubbed elbows with the likes of Frank Sinatra and George Raft), his high-wide-and-handsome lifestyle earned him a one-year suspension from baseball in 1947. While the proximate charges were vague in the extreme, Eskenazi leaves little doubt that the brash baseball man deserved chastening. And Durocher is also overdue for a plaque at Cooperstown, in the author's persuasive view. Pointing out that only five of the ten managers voted into the baseball pantheon compiled better career records than Durocher's, Eskenazi argues that it's time for old enemies to bury the hatchet and make room for the Lip. An anecdotal, warts-and-all portrait of a rugged individualist who did it his way, which should appeal to fans of any age. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: March 19, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-11895-X

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1993

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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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