Author and subject, student and mentor, are perfectly matched. Illuminating reading for any aspiring journalist or travel...

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TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS

Famed Polish writer and traveler Kapuscinski (The Shadow of the Sun, 2001, etc.), who died in January 2007, pays honor to antiquity’s “Father of History.”

Herodotus, the 5th-century chronicler, scarcely figured in the curriculum when Kapuscinski was going to university just after WWII. Though a Polish translation had been completed, he recalls in opening, it went unpublished throughout Josef Stalin’s remaining years, its pages full of subtle warnings that imperial overreach and the cruelty of rulers would always be avenged one day. When a Polish Herodotus finally did appear, it went into Kapuscinski’s suitcase courtesy of the newspaper editor who sent the young man, bad suit and all, off to India and China as a correspondent. As he recounts, he quickly realized that he knew nothing, that “the more words I knew, the richer, fuller, and more variegated would be the world that opened before me, and which I could capture.” Inspired by the commonsensical Herodotus, who tried to explain the world beyond their gates to his fellow Greeks, Kapuscinski embarked on a series of travels that he details in his many other books and describes, sometimes allusively, here. One episode finds him wandering through Nasserite, prohibitionist Cairo looking for a discreet place in which to pitch an empty beer bottle; another sees him alternately spied on and chanted to in China (“With each passing day I thought of the Great Wall more and more as the Great Metaphor”); still another confronts him with the curious sight of an animated Louis Armstrong playing before a stony-faced audience of Sudanese, “unable to communicate much less partake of an emotional oneness.” Throughout, Kapuscinski tests and emulates Herodotus’s methods: “he wanders, looks, talks, listens, in order that he can later note down what he learned and saw, or simply to remember better.”

Author and subject, student and mentor, are perfectly matched. Illuminating reading for any aspiring journalist or travel writer, for any traveler, for any citizen of the world.

Pub Date: June 11, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-4000-4338-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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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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