British journalist and broadcaster Reeve (One Day in September: The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge Operation “Wrath of God”, 2000, etc.) journeys along the southernmost border of the tropics as a follow-up to his expedition for the BBC series Equator.
The Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer bookend a section of the globe that is 3,222 miles wide, “a home to extraordinary natural biodiversity, but an overwhelming concentration of human suffering.” In this region, only Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan can claim to have economies described as “high-income.” Aiming to explore the various socioeconomic conditions plaguing this region and to understand the ailments of these lands, Reeve begins his journey in Africa and moves east to Australia and South America, finishing in the favelas (slums) of São Paulo, considered one of the most dangerous places on the planet. Yes, there’s breathtaking scenery en route, but this is travel writing of a sterner sort. The heart of Reeve’s narrative beats in his encounters with the people of Capricorn, including the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, Namibian prostitutes, gem miners in Madagascar, Australian Aboriginals and indigenous tribes in Chile, Paraguay and Argentina. He provides a balanced look at their plights and does an excellent job confronting the issues that have wreaked such havoc on this region, including environmental changes, globalization, AIDS and the lingering effects of colonialism. In South America, indigenous tribes who have lived in the mountains for centuries are now being chased off their land with bulldozers. These newly impoverished people will be forced into the slums of the nearest cities while the forests they lived in are destroyed to make way for soy farms producing biofuel. This grimly ironic facet to the world’s sustainable-energy discussion is one of the many disheartening human and environmental issues Reeve brings to light.
An illuminating, readable travelogue and an ethical call to action.
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)
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").