STREISAND

HER LIFE

A standard issue rah-rah show-biz bio of one of the most influential women in entertainment today. Such is Barbra Streisand's power that when one of the two films she has directed, The Prince of Tides, was recently televised, she called the network, mid-movie, and got them to lower the volume on the commercials. With 15 films, 50 albums, Grammies, and an Academy Award (for Funny Girl) to her credit, she has enjoyed an almost relentlessly successful career. And her notoriously zealous fans have treasured every moment, revering her in a manner usually associated with putative messiahs. Hollywood biographer Spada (More Than a Woman, 1993, etc.) does a thoroughly adequate job of recounting the highlights of Streisand's career, tracing how a homely, awkward girl from Brooklyn, through dint of sheer, single-minded perseverance, became ``the last great star.'' Her first successes as a singer, however, were almost accidentalshe wanted to be an actress and had never even taken voice lessons. But on a goof, she entered a nightclub's amateur night; two years later she released her first album. All along, fame was what she really wantedrecompense and redemption for the many miseries of her childhoodand she pursued it ruthlessly. Gently, gently Spada recounts her casual cruelties, her epic kvetchings, her fanatical need to control every last detail of her performances. If she'd been a man, she'd have been called a perfectionist, but Hollywood had choicer names for her. Spada writes evenly and entertainingly, but he largely ignores the careful scholarly standards of biography. Don't look for footnotes or extensive bibliographies or penetrating insights or a keen critical awareness. And despite some judiciously dished dirt, there is little to lift this biography above the chattering herds of banal historiettes. Two cheers for Streisand, one for Spada. (32 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First serial to Vanity Fair; Literary Guild selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-517-59753-5

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1995

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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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