Trying to hunt down the controversial, complex Greene (190491) as the Harry Lime of the literary racket, Shelden (Orwell, 1991, etc.) succeeds less in decoding the deceptions of Greene's life than in creating a trail of false leads. In contrast to the meticulous Norman Sherry's multi-volume authorized biography (The Life of Graham Greene: Vol. II, 1995, etc.), Shelden not only braves the protective Greene estate, but also rummages for unreliable rumors and sloppily sourced gossip. Greene's penchant for prostitutes, his friendship with double agent Kim Philby, his provocative loose-cannon politics, and his heterodox (rather antinomian) Catholicism all entangled his enigmatic life; but Shelden adds unsupported claims of homosexuality and pedophilia, opportunistic political posturing, and religious hypocrisy to make Greene as villainous a character as any in his novels. Shelden uses such unreliable witnesses as a Jamaican maid, a Capri postal worker, and the batty model for Aunt Augusta of Travels with My Aunt, and his own cases for an adolescent botched suicide attempt by hanging and an affair with a fellow Oxford man have scarcely more credibility. Given Greene's highly dubious character, some of Shelden's barbs hook flesh, from habitual spitefulness and petty deceptions—such as the publication of the ``lost novel'' The Tenth Man—to more serious sins. Shelden uncovers an early anti-Semitic streak, which surfaced in Greene's 1930s movie reviews of the ``tasteless Semitic opulence'' of producer Alexander Korda. In his last years, Greene conducted all-expenses-paid political liaisons with Panamanian dictators General Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega, and the Sandinistas— which led to his puff personality piece Getting to Know the General, especially disappointing in comparison with his famously penetrating earlier tours of Mexico and Vietnam. Despite Shelden's relentless animus for Greene as a person and a writer, this propaganda campaign can neither surpass nor subvert the Greene legend. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-679-42883-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

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?