MEMORY'S GHOST

THE STRANGE TALE OF MR. M AND THE NATURE OF MEMORY

The mysteries of human memory are deftly probed by Hilts, New York Times Washington correspondent on science and health policy (Scientific Temperaments, 1982, etc.). Hilts delves into the case of Henry M., who was left without a memory when drastic experimental brain surgery to relieve his epilepsy failed. Some 40 years after Henry's disastrous encounter with the surgeon's knife, researchers are still learning from his tragedy how the brain creates memories. Hilts came to know the gentle Henry as well as anyone can know a creature who lives only in the present moment. It's a fascinating account, made more so by Hilts's knack for finding concrete images, e.g., ``What . . . is now missing for Henry is the engine of memory which we use to catch the events of the world as they go by.'' Although Hilts notes that describing the mind's mysteries has been largely left to scientists who cannot express well what they know and to poets who can express well but know little, his own writing achieves a gracious balance between science and literature. He shares painful personal memories, and he seeks out articulate scientists to help him explain the biology and chemistry of memory. In addition, Hilts traces a kind of history of memoryfrom its precursors in the responses of simple animals to marks made on bone by early humans to Homer's catalogs of ships and warriors to Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. His conclusion, that memorythe central trait of the human mindis an act of construction, not of recording, and that memory's chief feature is its malleability, will afford little comfort to recovered memory therapists. Fans of Oliver Sacks will find much to savor here.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-684-80356-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1995

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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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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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