Malcolm (The Journalist and the Murderer, 1990, etc.) explores psychoanalysis, art, literature, and her native Czechoslovakia in this provocative collection of essays, all of which originally appeared in either The New Yorker or The New York Review of Books. The first third of the book, consisting of four essays on psychoanalysis, plays in a minor key on themes in Malcolm's In the Freud Archives (1984) and Psychoanalysis (1981), including Freud's accidental discovery of transference in the famous ``Dora'' case and attempts by today's practitioners to refurbish the movement's ``sagging and peeling mansion.'' Malcolm's erudition is seen to its best advantage in a series of reviews that cover Milan Kundera; Thomas Eakins; Tom Wolfe; Ved Mehta; V†clav Havel's prison letters to his wife; a memoir of New Guinea; and the now-little-read Victorian Sir Edmund Gosse (letters by Gosse's contemporary defenders, Malcolm says, ``form an authoritative primer on how to write comforting bullshit on demand''). The three extended profiles that conclude the book—on an unorthodox therapist whose session the author observes through a one-way mirror; on Artforum editor Ingrid Sischy; and on a former Czech dissident adjusting to career and political uncertainties in post-Communist Czechoslovakia—show how Malcolm can fascinate as often as she irritates. Her sense of irony sometimes manages to disrupt the placid surface of her lengthy, quote-laden journalism (reading Jay Haley, a writer in the social-science field, ``is like being in the bedroom of a charming cad''). But it can also, for instance, make one wonder why Malcolm feels the New York art world is worth so much attention if so many of its artists and critics, as depicted here, are such pretentious boors. Malcolm at her lucid, informed, sometimes too-clever-by-half best, and minus the questionable journalism characterized by her imbroglios with Fatal Vision author Joe McGinniss and renegade Freud researcher Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-41232-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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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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