Genial, offbeat feature writing from the AP correspondent who observed The Secret Life of the Seine (1994) from his own houseboat; now he's got five acres in Provence overgrown with olive trees, and he's smitten with the cult of the olive. The magic, surprisingly, can be catching. A fully engaged curiosity enhances the reach of Rosenblum's repertoire, from the turf of the cultivators to the politics of commerce—and from Kalamata, where he samples some of the best oil of his life (though there's no place on earth like the olive souk in Marrakesh), to California, where olive trees are moving in on the vineyards. Wherever he goes on assignment, Rosenblum finds ``brothers in the olive,'' ready to take up the great debate on the best way to press oil. With a little stroking, they might offer a visiting aficionado a taste from their own stock: ``Gold,'' one connoisseur calls the bottle he parts with reluctantly (it crashes to the floor unsampled during Rosenblum's bag check at the airport). The assaults of nature and the uncertainty of the marketplace, fodder for kibitzers all around the Mediterranean, mean that most members of the olive-growing fraternity have to have day jobs. (Private holdings have anyhow been diluted below subsistence level over the millennia by cumulative adherence to the tradition of dividing a man's olive trees among his surviving sons.) In Italy, bulk-buyers misrepresent superior oils from elsewhere as their own and compound the fraud by adulterating them; in Israel, memorably, a Jew and an Arab go into business together exporting olives in fitting response to the accelerating peace; in Croatia, where nobody's tending the trees these days, refugee children play war games using the abandoned olives for ammunition. The world as seen through the window of an idiosyncratic passion, rendered by a raffish pro. (line drawings)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-86547-503-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: North Point/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996

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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

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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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