A well-written, comprehensively researched account of one man with connections to key players in literature and politics...




A biography of a lesser-known figure of 20th-century literature, written by his distant cousin.

In this debut biography, Lurie takes readers on a journey through the life of his father’s cousin Lewis Galantière, who mingled with Sinclair Lewis and Ernest Hemingway in 1920s France, translated Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s works into English, and was part of the trans-Atlantic literary scene. In an effort to provide an accurate account, Lurie sorted through a variety of contradictory information and outright lies. Galantière had a tendency to embellish his academic credentials (as a literary critic who never attended college, he claimed a fanciful intellectual history) and reinvent his personal history (he said he was born in France rather than to Latvian immigrants in a Chicago tenement). With lengthy quotations from both Galantière’s writings and the papers of the historical figures he interacted with, Lurie builds a detailed portrait of a challenging man who aspired to distinction and—though he had frequent successes—often fell short of his own goals. The book seamlessly blends Galantière’s professional adventures—with publishers, the Federal Reserve, PEN International, and Radio Free Europe—with his personal life, including multiple marriages and affairs. A detailed notes section expands on many of the topics covered in the book and also provides a way for Lurie to incorporate anecdotes that do not fit into the primary narrative, adding further color and interest to Galantière’s story. The book’s one noteworthy shortcoming is a disinclination to grapple with some of its subject’s less savory traits—in particular, the Jewish Galantière’s occasional anti-Semitism, which Lurie describes but does not explore. On the whole, however, Lurie has produced a substantial, thoughtful biography of a man previously known only through his appearances in the papers of more famous individuals, acknowledging his contributions and placing him in historical context without attributing undue significance to a relatively minor figure in modern intellectual history.

A well-written, comprehensively researched account of one man with connections to key players in literature and politics throughout the 1900s.

Pub Date: April 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9991002-2-6

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Overlook Press LLC

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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