Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Franklin (Journalism/Univ. of Maryland; The Molecules of the Mind, 1987, etc.) explores the symbiotic relationship between man and dog.
When the author proposed to his wife, her response was, “Does this mean that I can have a puppy?” His agreement was the beginning of a happy marriage and a love affair with Charlie, the poodle who joined their family. Franklin’s world was changed as he shared Charlie’s joy and pondered his awareness of things “just beyond the reach of everyday human beings.” It wasn’t surprising that the poodle could nose out hidden wildlife, but he seemed to perceive the emotions of people by their smell as well. During his years on the science beat for the Baltimore Sun, Franklin followed advances in archeology, anthropology and neuroanatomy, but he was startled to find little scientific information about dogs. “How could an animal be everywhere, and yet go almost completely unnoticed by the very people whose job it was to notice things?” he asked himself. Chancing upon a photograph taken at a dig in the Jordan Valley that revealed a man and a pup buried together at a site estimated to be 12,000 years old, he began a ten-year quest to unravel the relationship between the evolution of humans and dogs, both of which appear to have emerged in their modern form at the same time. Franklin branches off in many fascinating directions. Noting that excavations of 400,000-year-old sites show wolf bones and human artifacts intermixed, he speculates that wolves who followed primitive pre-humans were gradually transformed into dogs, which then participated in the domestication of other animals. He concludes that mankind and dogs have evolved symbiotically and are psychologically as essential to each other today as in the past—the dogs for sustenance and the human for companionship and to dump the occasional “emotional weight”—with brains that have evolved accordingly.
Should delight dog-lovers and science buffs alike, even though many of Franklin’s conjectures can’t be proven.
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)