From Winternitz (East Along the Equator, 1987)—an absorbing, often moving, eyewitness account of a West Bank village's growing involvement with the Intifada. In an effort to understand Palestinian concerns, the author spent a year, beginning in the spring of 1988, immersing herself in the life of Nahalin, a seemingly quiet ``backwater'' of 4,000 near Bethlehem. Concentrating on the day-to-day activities of a simple farming community while remaining alert to odd and revealing scraps of conversation, Winternitz does an admirable job of conveying the sense of entrapment that pushes her subjects into political activism. Living in a valley surrounded by Israeli outposts, the villagers have no recourse when their carefully tended olive trees are bulldozed for settlement development. At the same time, bored and frustrated teenagers, their schools paradoxically closed to stem unrest, easily drift into the ranks of stone-throwing shabab (literally, ``the boys'')—''the makeshift army of the intifada.'' Unsurprisingly, nearly every member of the village is revealed as aligned with one or the other of the two main PLO factions—Yasir Arafat's Fatah and George Habash's more militant Jebha. In a succession of vivid, alternately pastoral and troubling scenes, the narrative moves from the intricacies of native embroidery to the perfunctory justice of Israeli military courts and, finally, to an apparently unprovoked attack by restless Border Police. Unlike Michael Gorkin in his excellent study of a Palestinian village in Israel (Days of Honey, Days of Onion, p. 907), however, Winternitz too often strays from the challenges facing the Palestinians to her own concerns, and fails to offer the deeper political analysis necessary for a truly balanced account. Yet the testimony of the villagers, caught between a learned hopelessness (``...there is no future,'' notes one local leader) and a fervent desire for peace, gives the work urgency and importance. A flawed but worthwhile addition, then, to current Middle East reportage.
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)
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").