A worthy collection that would have benefitted from further effort from the book’s editor and publisher.

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SELECTED WRITINGS OF GAY TALESE

A short anthology of features from acclaimed newspaperman and magazine writer Talese (The Voyeur’s Motel, 2016, etc.).

The collection features 13 pieces, many of which appeared in Esquire, where the author gained renown beginning in the early 1960s after his stint at the New York Times; others ran in the New Yorker, New York magazine, and the New York Observer. Despite having been published decades ago in some instances, the content of the magazine pieces does not seem dated; one of Talese's strengths has always been his ability to explore eternal themes. The anthology can also be appreciated as a demonstration of craft. Talese's techniques are worthy of study, especially his unique talent for fully immersing himself in the lives of his subjects. Unfortunately, the book offers little in the way of added value other than an insightful four-page introduction by writer/scholar Lee Gutkind, who is often known as the father of creative nonfiction. The anthology lacks fresh commentary by Talese himself, and none of the 13 pieces contain further analysis by Gutkind or others. Another disappointment is the lack of updates to the feature stories. Happily, the collection includes what is almost certainly Talese's best-known magazine piece, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," as well as previously published commentary by Talese about how the Sinatra story, which was published in Esquire in 1966, came together. In two pieces, Talese examines the inner workings of his former employer, the New York Times. Other subjects include an organized crime family (the Bonannos), a mass murderer (Charles Manson), a pornography publisher (Harold Rubin), an apparently homeless woman, a Russian opera singer (Marina Poplavskaya), and the unlikely collaboration of two pop-music stars (Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga).

A worthy collection that would have benefitted from further effort from the book’s editor and publisher.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63286-746-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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