THE MORGENTHAUS

A FAMILY HISTORY

A fourth-generation Morgenthau pens a lively and engaging biography of his family of high achievers, overlaid with a fresh view of changing Jewish acculturation during the past two American centuries. The first Morgenthau of record, Moses, was required to take a family name when the Jews of Bavaria were granted citizenship in 1813. Waiting in line at city hall in the predawn, he looked at the damp ground and decided to call himself Morgen Tau (``morning dew'' in German). His son, Lazarus, after an apprenticeship as a tailor, rose from poverty by selling cravats, and to wealth by manufacturing fine cigars. His entrepreneurship carried into making nicotine-free cigars, candy from pine needles, tongue scrapers, and gum-label machines. A multimillionaire, he emigrated to Brooklyn with his ten children and plunged into an extraordinary network of German Jewish families—Strausses, Sulzbergers, Guggenheims, Schlesingers. His son, Henry, retired from a successful business career at age 50 to enter public life. Woodrow Wilson appointed him ambassador to Turkey, a position considered a crucial Jewish outpost since Palestine was then under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. From letters and family stories, the author assembles a gripping and tragic account of the 1915 Armenian massacre; Henry's grandfather attempted to get the US government to intervene and offered personally to donate $1 million to the Turkish government to fund an Armenian exodus, all to no avail. (The author's cousin, Barbara Tuchman, drew upon family memories of this period in writing The Guns of August.) Thirty years later, during WW II, the author's father, Henry, Jr.—FDR's secretary of the treasury—presented a scathing report to the President on the ``Acquiescence of the Government to the Murder of the Jews'' with equal lack of effect. Personal history that opens to a larger cultural and political account of the 20th century: fluent and passionately humane. (Thirty-two pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-89919-976-3

Page Count: 436

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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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