Informative, comprehensive—but burdened by gee-whiz insights into the ways of the world.




An American writer details her infatuation with French bread, in a part-reportage and part-earnest attempt to understand national differences and obsessions.

When her husband’s job transplanted them from Minnesota to Washington, D.C., Taber, the mother of two young children, found herself in a place that prized work more than community and free time. She took long drives to find bakeries that made good French bread and tried making loaves on her own, but that didn’t lessen her feelings of loneliness. She decided to write the story of a loaf of French bread. She would go to France and there find all that was missing in her American life: a nourishing community, balanced lives, and more time; France, unlike the US, would be “the repository of quality.” So Taber travels to the village of Blain in Brittany, where she meets Gold Medal baker Jean-Claude Choquet. She learns how bread is made, the process still lengthy and energy-consuming although it has been helped by the modern invention of a cooling chamber in which the dough can be left to rise for longer periods than in the past. Taber goes to the marshes of Guerande, where the salt Choquet uses is harvested from the sea in an elaborate process involving channels and a sequence of pans. At a mill she learns that the French have six categories of flour. Since they fortify their bread flour with American wheat, she next visits an organic wheat farmer, then the water company that serves Blain, and finally the yeast manufacturer, whose largest client is China. The author is chagrined to learn that the French enjoy the convenience of American sandwich loaves and McDonald’s fast food; she also discovers that all the people she meets work as hard and as long as any Washington bureaucrat.

Informative, comprehensive—but burdened by gee-whiz insights into the ways of the world.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2001

ISBN: 0-8070-7238-9

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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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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