THE JAMESES

A FAMILY NARRATIVE

William James wrote that brother Henry was really ``a member of James family, and has no other country.'' The meaning of that remark becomes abundantly clear in this weighty group biography, which probes how the master novelist, the pioneering psychologist- philosopher, and their siblings were shaped by the formidable legacy of their ancestors. While contributing little beyond the scholarly detective work of Leon Edel and Jean Strouse in their respective biographies of Henry and sister Alice, Lewis (the Pulitzer Prize-winning Edith Wharton, 1976) skillfully if leisurely gives all members of this unusual clan their due. William James of Albany, grandfather of the literary giants, was a Scotch-Irish immigrant whose shrewdness as merchant and real-estate investor (he bought the village of Syracuse just before it boomed) produced one of the largest American fortunes of the early 19th century. Yet son Henry James, Sr., was a restless religious thinker who left his own children with a legacy of intellectualism, angst, and apprehension over what he termed the ``money passion.'' In addition, Henry and William were affected by Alice, a brilliant woman who suffered devastating depressions, and by Wilky and Bob, whose Civil War service left their older brothers with a lifelong regret over missing the great engagement of their generation. These relationships—marked by affection, rivalry, and differences over how to engage life and art—are outlined by Lewis with restraint and subtle insights (e.g., how William and Henry became concerned with the supernatural and ``varieties of religious experience'' in the early 1900's). An astute family portrait, rendered in Jamesian style—by turns indirect, ironic, psychologically penetrating, and moving. (Thirty-two pages of photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-374-17861-5

Page Count: 660

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1991

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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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