THE FEATHER MEN

A rousing tale of true adventure in which a homespun band of British vigilantes takes on and destroys a cabal of assassins-for- hire. World-class explorer Fiennes (Living Dangerously, 1988) plays a supporting role in the desperate events he was chosen to recount. At the heart of his stranger-than-fiction story are the Feather Men (so-called for their ``light touch''), a covert organization created to protect veterans of the SAS and other elite military units from reprisals by erstwhile foes. Among other adversaries, the vigilantes took on a band of contract killers known as ``the Clinic.'' In the pay of a Dhofari sheik bent on avenging five sons who had fallen in battle, the hit men stalked and liquidated four former British soldiers, all of whom had fought in Arabia's deserts. The cunning murders, which occurred over a 14-year span beginning in 1977, were carried out in such a way that local police dismissed any possibility of foul play. The Feather Men, however, soon concluded that those they had pledged to safeguard were homicide victims. In the skilled hands of the author—whom the Feather Men picked to tell their story—the facts of how a crew of retired army officers and civil servants working with volunteer operatives managed to track down and eliminate the professional assassins (whose fifth target was Fiennes himself) make for a riveting narrative. Thanks to a generous measure of dramatic license, moreover, the same holds true for the author's vivid reconstruction of episodes on which he was not briefed by principals or participants. Excepting this cavil and the moral ambiguities of rough justice: A marvelously entertaining account of good versus unequivocal evil. (Eight pages of photos—not seen.)

Pub Date: March 23, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-12134-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1993

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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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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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