A woman doggedly investigates the details of her father’s life, a man she hardly knew.
When debut author Krulick-Belin was only a child living in Queens in 1960, her father was hospitalized for bone marrow cancer, and the morning of his departure was the last time she ever saw him. An intensely private woman, her mother responded to the tragedy of the loss with an impregnable reticence, zealously guarding information about the man and her life with him from her children. The author grew up under the regime of this “deafening silence,” not even knowing what disease felled her father until years later. On her 40th birthday, one of her aunts gave her a series of cassettes on which the relative recorded a sort of informal family history, but even that studiously excluded huge pieces of the overall puzzle. In 2001, the author’s mother grew ill and moved to a nursing home in Florida near one of her sons, leaving Krulick-Belin to pack up the apartment. In the process, her husband found an old box of letters her father wrote to her mother, which the author was allowed to keep on the condition that she only read them after her mother’s death. Her mother died about a year after the move, but Krulick-Belin, anxious about what secrets the box might reveal, waited six years before she finally perused the contents. The letters were sent from various theaters of battle during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, many while her father participated in the Army’s North African campaign. Krulick-Belin reproduces the letters in full here, and they reveal a tender man, insecurely anxious about the requiting of his affections. And as the author tenaciously examines her father’s life, she learns about her mother, too, who, unbeknown to her, had a prior marriage that was annulled. This remembrance, the result of extraordinary detective work, is a moving love letter from daughter to father but also a testament to the emotional significance of family legacy. For the reader unacquainted with the author’s family, this biography may seem both too long and too detailed. Nonetheless, it remains a poignant fusion of history and familial devotion.
A touching biography of a World War II soldier that unfolds like a mystery.
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)