A debut memoir of a swimmer who recovered from surgery to compete in the 1960 Olympics.
Six days before the U.S. Olympic trials for the 1960 Games in Rome, Farrell, then the fastest swimmer in the world, underwent an emergency appendectomy. His dreams of making the U.S. team, let alone winning Olympic gold, appeared to be shattered. This stirring account details how he defied the medical odds and managed to return to the water in time for the trials. “I had accomplished a virtual athletic miracle,” he recalls, and he would go on to win two gold medals in relay events—a testament, he says, to his “strange combination of physical and mental distress, despair, doubt, hope, belief and finally courage to accomplish my goal.” When he initially woke up from the anesthesia, his understanding of what had happened to him had reduced him to tears: “[T]he surgeon had removed not only my appendix, but also my dream of winning a gold medal in the Rome Olympics.” But only two days after the surgery, he was walking around in a pool in the hospital basement, his 5-inch incision protected by a wraparound bandage. Before his first race at the trials, “a girl placed a small crucifix from her rosary on my starting block,” expressing what the author took to be “fear, faith, and hope.” Farrell effectively interweaves his story of miraculous recovery with engaging recollections of his swimming career: As a youth, he trained in a 16-yard pool in Wichita, Kansas, that had no lanes or markings. He also looks at the evolution of his sport; at the time he competed, for example, there were no goggles, forcing some swimmers to rub Vaseline on their eyeballs to reduce the irritation from chlorine. Although Farrell missed out on his best event, the 100-yard freestyle, in Rome, his success still provides a powerful coda. Readers will leave with the pointed lesson that “it really wasn’t just about winning….[F]or me, it was also about moving forward in life.”
Entertaining recollections of a successful swimming career.
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)