A bitter and often shocking memoir of Hans Frank, Nazi Governor-General of Poland, by his journalist son. Beginning with the fact, learned apparently from an aunt, that his mother had no orgasm when he was conceived, and proceeding on to a detailed discussion of his father's execution after he was convicted of war crimes at Nuremberg, including speculation as to the quality of the sound when his father's neck snapped, Frank gives a chronological account of his father's checkered career. A lawyer with dreams of grandeur, the elder Frank participated in a minor way in Hitler's abortive Putsch in 1923. He caught the FÅhrer's eye when he defended some Nazi hooligans, and thereafter his ascent was rapid: Bavarian Minister of Justice; President of the Academy for German Justice; Reich Commissioner for Justice; Minister of the Reich—all while still in his 30s. His first compromise with evil lay in his acquiescence in the murder of S.A. leader Rohm and a number of his associates shortly after Hitler's rise to power. Frank's moral decline after becoming Governor- General of Poland was rapid: ``There is no reason for us to be squeamish when we hear about seventeen thousand people being shot,'' he told one audience. Deeply corrupt—they extorted furs and antiques from wealthy Jews—he and his wife laid themselves open to blackmail by Himmler. The son was seven years old when he had a last view of his father, visiting him in the death cell. Unfortunately, the cruelty of the father is matched by a certain cruelty in the son, and the format of the book, an extended conversation with the elder Frank in which the younger mocks and denounces his father's life, diminishes both the subject and the sympathy we would otherwise have for the son. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—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").
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)