The ripsnorting autobiography of R.A. (Bob) Hoover, a storied airman who belies the aviation adage that there are old pilots and bold pilots but no old, bold pilots. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Hoover (who turned 74 last January) learned to fly as a teenager. When the US entered WW II, Hoover became an army pilot (albeit as a sergeant, not a commissioned officer). Posted overseas, he flew 58 successful missions in British-made Spiatfires before being shot from the unfriendly skies over Nice, France. Having endured 16 months as a POW in the infamous Stalag 1, the intrepid birdman stole a Luftwaffe F-190 and winged his way to freedom. Back in the US, Hoover embarked on an eventful career as a test pilot, flying experimental aircraft for the US Air Force. Among other memorable moments he recalls with the help of USA Today columnist Shaw, is his experience as Chuck Yeager's backup on the epic 1947 flight during which the X-1 first broke the sound barrier. Although Hoover left the military for private industry in 1949, he was in the thick of aerial combat over Korea, demonstrating the F-86's capabilities as a dive bomber. Since then, Hoover has made a heady living on the global barnstorming circuit, performing spectacular feats of aerobatics and becoming known as King of the Air Shows. The holder of several speed records and recipient of countless honors, he has rubbed shoulders and wingtips with many of aviation's greats: Neil Armstrong, Jacqueline Cochran, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and more. He has appreciably fewer fond memories of the Federal Aviation Administration, which grounded him in 1992. With more than a little help from his many friends, however, the aging pilot won this dogfight last October and is again licensed to solo in this country. An exciting and engrossing memoir from one of aviation's more engaging pioneers. (Author tour)
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)