A tale of intrigue between the CIA and the Green Berets during the Vietnam War, by the author of The Vietnam Fact Book (1987 paperback). In 1969, a captured photograph suggested that a Vietnamese employed by the Green Berets as an agent, one Thai Khac Chuyen, was actually a North Vietnamese soldier. Chuyen was involved in the gathering of intelligence to support the Nixon Administration's recently begun secret bombings of Cambodia. Green Beret operatives pulled him in, determined that he was compromised, and went to the CIA for instructions—which were, off the record, to kill Chuyen. The operatives asked for official confirmation, but it was late in coming, so, with the approval of the Green Beret commander, Col. Robert Rheault, the operatives shot Chuyen and dumped the body at sea. Then an official communication arrived from the CIA not to proceed, followed by an investigation by the Army and then a media blitz and a ``show trial'' of eight Green Berets in the US. The trial was quickly shut down because of its embarrassment to the Green Berets and to the Nixon Administration's secret conduct of the war. Stein, an Army intelligence officer at the time, is able to tell the full story because of the Official Secrets Act, which declassified relevant documents. He has interviewed the principals and here dramatizes their roles as a novelist might; he lays out clearly the convoluted chronology. What emerges is a high-minded Green Beret command sullied by covert operations, and an eternally sleazy CIA running death squads through its Phoenix program. Well done, and of historical interest because the trial prompted Daniel Ellsberg's leak of The Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, heralding both the end of the war and of the Nixon Administration. (Twenty-four pages of photographs and maps—not seen.)
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)
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").