Zimmerman offers a warm, engaging memoir of her two years in Libya during the 1950s as a housewife in a foreign land.
The author’s story begins in late 1955 as she prepares to move herself and her three children to Wheelus Air Base in Tripoli to join her husband, a U.S. Air Force pilot. Over the course of her husband’s rotation, Zimmerman gave birth to a fourth child and adjusted to a number of other changes. While she dealt with a lack of easy access to telephones and transportation, she also witnessedpoverty on a scale unknown to most Americans, and faced the social and cultural obstacles that came with traditionalist attitudes toward women. To make her adjustment more difficult, several regional political developments while she was there led to protests and unrest in the streets. Meanwhile, the Cold War loomed in the background, particularly when the 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik became international news. Zimmerman writes this memoir with good humor and cheer, even while acknowledging her personal troubles large and small—from an abusive upstairs neighbor to locusts—and the darker aspects of Tripoli life, such as the destitution of children living on the streets. The memoir is leavened throughout with the author’s modern-day opinions on family and friends that appear in the narrative. Overall, Zimmerman brings her day-to-day routines to vivid life with her firm grasp of detail. Although readers can find many other memoirs about people living overseas, the author here provides the fairly novel perspective of a 1950s housewife in a country not well understood by most Americans.
A warm, well-rendered historical appreciation of Libya’s rich culture.
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)