Throwbacks, maybe, but Halpern is “impressed by their fierce pioneer spirit, clearly atavistic, but proudly unyielding.” You...

BRAVING HOME

DISPATCHES FROM THE UNDERWATER TOWN, THE LAVA-SIDE INN, AND OTHER EXTREME LOCALES

Five choice samples from Halpern’s journalistic beat of “outlandish and often hellish [places] inhabited by a handful of stalwarts who refused to leave.”

Sometimes it’s just one stalwart, like Jack Thompson, sole resident of Royal Gardens, Hawaii, a little lava-encircled island with plenty more lava creeping its way. Then there’s Thad Knight, who stayed put when Hurricane Floyd inundated Princeville, North Carolina, arguably the first incorporated black town in the US. After Knight come the residents of Whittier, Alaska, living in a claustrophobic and otherworldly 14-story high-rise nestled in the tongue of a glacier—people who, in one resident’s words, “came here running from something.” At first glance, Malibu, California, hardly seems outlandish and hellish—that is, until fire season starts, marking a clear distinction between those who run and those who stay to guard the homestead against the wind-whipped flames. Lastly, there’s the fellow who rides the mean storms off the Gulf of Mexico on a spit of land in the south of Louisiana. What we have here, Halpern suggests, are people with genuine pride of place and sense of home, not despite of but in response to the strange and daring environs: “Perhaps, over the years, their intimacy with danger and their ability to survive created a deep sense of pride and belonging.” They are individualistic, self-reliant, respectful of nature (except for Princeville, their landscapes are marked by sheer magnificence), and, often as not, happy to be free of government and society. These are people linked inextricably to the places they live, devoted and hardy, a little rough around the edges, humorous and stoic, capable of making their own definitions of heaven on earth.

Throwbacks, maybe, but Halpern is “impressed by their fierce pioneer spirit, clearly atavistic, but proudly unyielding.” You will be, too. (12 b&w photos)

Pub Date: July 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-15548-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2003

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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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