The thoughtful diary of an upper-crust Bostonian woman, written between the years 1844 and 1904. When the diary opens, Elizabeth Mason is an enthusiastic nine- year-old about to embark on a trip to New York. When it closes, she is a seasoned grandmother who has married, raised five children, lost a brother to war, and witnessed the death of her husband. Mason's writings, which editor Taylor has divided into seven chronological sections, have a strong element of aristocratic reserve yet still manage to portray a warm and complex woman. She is only tangentially interested in public affairs (she barely mentions the Civil War, for example); what fascinates her is the private sphere. By far the most revealing section of her diary occurs between 1854 and 1857, when she is being courted by numerous suitors. Their attentions make her reflect deeply on women's role in society (``But is it not possible,'' she asks, ``that women's true place is yet to be perceived...?'') and the capriciousness of love (``What can he know of me, excepting that I have pretty manners and brown hair and can smile—-alas, alas is this the way one is to stumble on one's lot?''). Most of the other sections are substantially more descriptive than reflective, but throughout is a pervasive sense of the precariousness of 19th-century life. Many of Mason's friends die unexpectedly of disease, accident (one young friend burns to death when her dress catches fire), or childbirth. Taylor illuminates Mason's sometimes disappointingly brief entries with informative footnotes, a background introduction, and 16 photos (not seen). A revealing glimpse or 19th-century Bostonian society, written by an intelligent and perceptive woman who's not afraid to question either herself or her world.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 1991

ISBN: 0-8070-5104-7

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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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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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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