An epically compelling travel memoir.



An acclaimed travel writer and novelist’s engrossing account of his journey through the Deep South.

During his long, fruitful career, Theroux (Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories, 2014, etc.) has traveled to many exotic locations all over the world. Yet 50 years after he began as a travel writer, he was suddenly seized with a longing to travel through the hominess of the American South. Driving along rural highways and deliberately bypassing “buoyant cities and obvious pleasures,” he sought out the sights and people that he believed would help him understand a remarkable but profoundly troubled region. The green landscapes of the Deep South still included tobacco and cotton fields, both of which stood as reminders of the “persistence of history.” Even the many gun shows that Theroux visited seemed to recall the Old South’s preoccupation with defending not only its soil, but also its values against incursions from the North. For African-Americans, churches still served as spaces of “focus and respite from a hostile…majority [white] culture.” Memories of slavery and segregation even persisted in the geography, with whites living in the hills and mountains and blacks primarily inhabiting the agricultural flatlands. What stirred Theroux the most, however, was how so many of the places he observed resembled “what [was] often thought of as the Third World.” Despite encounters with lingering racism and deeply entrenched social and economic problems, the author found a warm welcome almost everywhere he went. Everyone—from barbers and welfare families to preachers and politicians—showered him with kindness, generosity, and, more often than not, stories. Broken by history but rich in culture and spirit, the South that Theroux came to know was “a dream, with all a dream’s distortions and satisfactions.” As thoughtful as it is evocative, the book offers insight into a significant region and its people and customs.

An epically compelling travel memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-32352-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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