Both sophisticated and rowdy, Mindermann reminds us that the cops and FBI often wore white hats during their darker days in...

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IN PURSUIT

FROM THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO TO WATERGATE

Mindermann’s personal story as a San Francisco police officer who became an FBI special agent in Washington, D.C., during the Nixon administration.

Mindermann worked as an FBI agent on Watergate and witnessed the shadowy intrigue that episode trailed in its wake, including the FBI occupation of the White House—Secret Service turf—and the “swirling, ethically confusing” dance of Washington’s subculture of undercover operations. By the end of this particular tale—with its on-the-spot anecdotes, finding and following the money trail, and profiles of major characters, including acting Director L. Patrick Gray and Mark Felt (Mr. Deep Throat)—few will contest Mindermann’s suggestion that “Watergate was an FBI story,” with all due respect to theWashington Post. Following Mindermann, as he details the tarp thrown over the break-in, for all its holes and gaps, highlights the collective smarts of the agency. The action switches to Mindermann’s years growing up in San Francisco, nicely documenting why he is one tough character, and joining the San Francisco Police Department, with a fine array of fleet stories involving bar fights, police corruption, drunks and druggies, and a terrifying story of a near lynching: “That evening I’d come face-to-face with the potential for human barbarity.” Mindermann has a taste for Sergeant Friday stylization—“I targeted the most hardened, felony prone hoodlums, whose rap sheets vividly revealed a criminal panorama,” “a foreboding chill swept over me”—but it works well here, for Mindermann spent most of his life in the company of murderous bottom feeders, and the chronicles of their takedowns benefit from his Technicolor delivery. After joining the FBI, the author was not only involved with plenty of high-profile operations, such as the John DeLorean sting, but he notes that he was a pioneer on the poison of stress in police work and helped developed criminal profiling (as a refined police tool rather than excuse for bigotry).

Both sophisticated and rowdy, Mindermann reminds us that the cops and FBI often wore white hats during their darker days in the 1960s and ’70s.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615941486

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Ames Alley Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2014

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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