Acerbic but entertaining: a good read for Anglophiles and prospective visitors.

MUSTN’T GRUMBLE

AN ACCIDENTAL RETURN TO ENGLAND

An expatriate rediscovers the country he left behind and lets the chips, including the one on his shoulder, fall where they may.

The author, a former teacher who left England somewhat accidentally for New Zealand, returns quite calculatingly after 18 years to write a book about what he will discover. His mission is to recreate a 1926 motor tour taken by once-popular British writer H. V. Morton, who drove “a Bertie Wooster car [and had] Bertie-Woosterish encounters that he reported in Bertie-Woosterish style.” Morton’s aim was “to find the real England,” and Bennett follows in his tire tracks from London west to Cornwall, Wales, the Midlands, the industrial North and back again. This circuit encompasses some of the country’s most visited locales, including those depressingly “tarted up” (in the author’s view) for the tourist trade. Bennett provides a candid impression of these byways and the people who now live there, waiting to welcome—or not—the casual visitor and share—or not—their revered—or not—heritage. The landscape has changed since the days of Morton. The growth of street crime is reflected in police warning signs posted in even the most secluded villages. The culture of the motorway itself, with BMWs and Volkswagens streaming off the major routes into local car parks, has been permanently altered. Bennett travels across empty windswept moors and private green glades. He visits pubs and has random encounters in the streets. In the face of waning traditions and modern tensions, he still manages to capture the essence of England.

Acerbic but entertaining: a good read for Anglophiles and prospective visitors.

Pub Date: June 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7432-7627-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Headline

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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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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