An African-American man shares his evolution from drug dealer to college-graduate professional, social analysis, and empowerment tips in this debut motivational memoir.
Barlow describes his narrative, aimed particularly at minority youth, as a “semi- autobiographical/motivational book based on the premise that no one is born a failure…period.” Instead, “minorities must contend with a plethora of obstacles which are mainly a result of the disparate treatment they have endured for generations.” After providing supporting statistics, Barlow segues into his life story. Born in Harlem in 1971, he was abandoned by his mother at an early age and primarily raised by his father and grandmother. His father encouraged him to be a critical thinker and held a regular job, but had money-management issues, having “been a hustler for most of his life…used to fast money.” At age 13, Barlow became a drug dealer’s lookout and then a pusher himself, dropping out of high school at 16. At 18, after almost getting arrested a second time, which would have meant significant jail time, Barlow moved back with his grandmother, finished high school at night while working regular jobs, and then attended and graduated from college. Now “a senior legal assistant, easily grossing six figures,” Barlow is proud that “my relationship with my daughters is the testament of a misguided teenager who evolved into a well-rounded man and exemplary father.” Close to this volume’s midpoint, the author offers his “blueprint for success,” focused on how to become an “intellectual gangsta” (with a helpful reading list provided) and concluding with social and racial commentary. The Autobiography of Malcolm X is No. 1 on the reading list, and this book has a similar intensity and advocacy. Barlow’s recollections of his days as a dealer are particularly evocative, even shocking, with the author at one point noting that he worked the same hallway with several other pushers because “there were so many customers that we still made money.” In his social criticism, Barlow addresses government involvement in the Flint, Michigan, water crisis: “The residents of Flint, Michigan, the majority of whom are black and impoverished, were knowingly allowed to drink and bathe in water contaminated with lead.”
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").
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)