Hearst Magazines president Clinton’s first nonphotography book (American Portraits, 2010, etc.) mixes travel guide and travel diary.
Beginning with a youthful dream to visit family in Ireland, the author relates how he became obsessed with travel and then highlights some of the 122 countries he’s visited, with each chapter representing a different country or region. Fortunately, with so many experiences to choose from, Clinton is able to warn readers to avoid the disappointing or overexposed. In many countries, he suggests itineraries to add on to the usual jaunts—e.g., in Tuscany, certainly visit Florence or Pisa, but also the coastal town of Forte dei Marmi. Unfortunately, these tips are buried among Clinton’s personal asides, thoughts that often come off as arrogant. In an anecdote about trying to leave Europe when a cloud of volcanic ash had stopped most flights, he writes, “Ahhh, now I know what it must have been like when people tried to get out of Europe in 1939!” In relating his memories, the author clearly wants to express the wonder of his experiences, but the stories often fall flat and seem unfinished. Still, each chapter contains the kind of information that could change a journey from average to amazing. At the end of many chapters, Clinton includes a list of tips from other world travelers that will be handy for explorers in different stages of their own globe-trotting adventures. Though it will take perseverance to uncover them, the tips contained in this book are treasures worth the work.
A good choice for those who look for expert advice in finding more adventurous choices for their global journeys.
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)
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").