The happy warrior of the Supreme Court's liberal wing from 1956 to 1990 is fondly recalled in these miscellaneous articles collected by Goldman (Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure/St. Louis Univ. School of Law) and Gallen (co-author, Remembering Malcolm, not reviewed). One sure tip-off that this book will not be an objective assessment comes early, when Nat Hentoff terms Brennan ``the most powerful and influential Supreme Court justice in the history of the nation.'' Perhaps Hentoff forgot John Marshall, but it's indisputable that in longevity, the verve of his writing, and his mastery of the fine art of coalition-building, Brennan was, as the contributors here insist, a giant. The first third of the text consists of pieces previously published in law journals and other periodicals; among them are two interviews with Brennan and tributes from fellow justices Thurgood Marshall and Byron White, former clerks, and friends like journalist Nina Totenberg. These associates remember a justice admired by both conservative and liberal colleagues on the high court for his humor, compassion, integrity, and especially his political skill in cobbling together majorities behind his opinions. In the second section, Goldman examines Brennan's jurisprudence in such controversial areas as due process, sex discrimination, affirmative action, abortion, freedom of the press, separation of church and state, and the death penalty. The final third contains 15 of the justice's landmark opinions, including New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), which provides the press greater protection in libel cases. The work's celebratory tone eschews any criticism, no matter how justified: Little is made, for example, of the fact that Brennan, despite years of trying, was unable to create a clear definition of obscenity to guide lower courts. A tribute with the genre's characteristic virtues (warmth) and vices (lack of objectivity), but on the money in assessing a justice unwavering in his dedication to civil rights and civil liberties.
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)