In this light and enjoyable collection of previously published essays, the peripatetic Millman visits some of the more remote precincts on the planet and reports on encounters both exotic and bizarre. Since Millman (who writes for National Geographic and other magazines) likes to go where others haven—t been or don—t want to go, most of his writings here originate from far-flung islands. Thus, he describes the slow-paced life of Tonga islanders, with a copy of Maugham in hand explores the Bandan spice islands, tours ancient ruins and imbibes a potent brew with the natives in Micronesia, and is attacked by one of the island’s ghosts in Western Samoa. Some of Millman’s better episodes take place on lesser-known islands off North America, including the forest-clad, lightly populated Anticosti in the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, the Queen Charlotte Islands off British Columbia, and Honduras’s English-speaking Bay Islands. Islands or not, some places from which Millman reports lie entirely off the tourist map. Abjuring seal eye, he dines on boiled walrus and seal brisket with Eskimos north of Hudson Bay; holds an incredibly unpronounceable conversation with the aid of an Inuit dictionary on a kayak stopover on the Labrador coast; and in the most memorable pieces accidentally invites himself to dinner at the home of an impoverished Ecuadoran. The eponymous adventure into the depths of the Ecuadoran Amazon, in company of an anthropologist and ethnobotanist, has Millman slogging through jungle, jumping away from snakes, being eaten by ants, and finally, at the camp of a medicine man, defending his circumcision. There are other quirky vignettes here such as a trip to the car-less isle of Sark and Millman’s discovery, right on the Massachusetts coast, of the carcass of a rare giant squid. Taken together, this is rather a hodgepodge of experiences that don’t quite fit together, but for the uncritical arm-chair traveler these essays are a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-57129-055-9

Page Count: 183

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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

Did you like this book?



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

Did you like this book?