THE STARCHED BLUE SKY OF SPAIN

AND OTHER MEMOIRS

These posthumous memoirs of novelist and journalist Herbst (1892-1969) alternate between dreamy recollection and thoughtful questioning of literary and political fashions. Herbst begins with tales of her pre-WW I childhood in Iowa, where she is raised by a mother who wonders hopefully whether young Josephine will grow up to be a lawyer and by a father who says as she leaves home for New York, ``Jo, I don't know what you're after, but I wish you all the luck in the world.'' In New York, Paris, and other centers of the cutting edge she is part of a literary circle that includes Katherine Anne Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Nathanael West, and others, living an enviable life of conversation and reading and stopping occasionally to wonder whether contempt for ``the lovely and the beautiful'' is becoming too popular. Her strongest contempt is for rigid ideologies. At a writers' conference in Moscow, she becomes disaffected from the literary figures whose praise for proletariat literature is a thinly veiled speech of self-promotion, and her refusal to paint the Spanish Civil War in black and white paralyzes her and keeps her silent about her trip for the next 30 years. Her questioning doesn't keep her from sentimentalizing the political debates of the time, but her description of sitting in an Italian-owned diner as Sacco and Vanzetti are executed is one of the work's memorable moments. Herbst convinces us that she was in the eye of the storm of the era that ``opened the world to its literary young on a scale never before ventured and not equaled since.''

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 1991

ISBN: 0-06-016512-X

Page Count: 224

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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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