CHICAGO

A collage of impressions and historical anecdotes by the author who over the years has become the guru of the Second City. Certain to be popular "in the state of Elanoy," this brief (144 pages) reminiscence may fare less well in the remaining 49. Terkel assumes his readers will be familiar with many of the personalties and events he depicts. And, while it is true that much of the material is well known—the career of Al Capone and the Haymarket Riot, for example—all too often Terkel fails to provide much in the way of background and exposition of his more obscure references. From time to time, colorful details surface which briefly capture the attention but much of the time the material is too specialized and/or minor to hold much interest for the general reader. As he had before (The Good War, Working and Hard Times, among others), Terkel brings his own individual voice to the work. As an "oral historian," it is in recreating his conversations with fellow Chicagoans that he is most appealing. Here he exhibits the breezy vitality that seems characteristic of the Windy City. The re is no denying that Terkel's enthusiasms are wide-ranging. They include everything from inner-city murals to Greek coffeehouses; from Pablo Picasso's controversial sculpture to the Dreamland Ballroom; from blizzards to "no-hitters" at Wrigley Field. For "out-of-towners," however, these glimpses of Chicago life are just not striking enough to rivet the attention. Fifty-five black-and-white photographs "by several generations of the city's most renowned photographers" (not seen) will doubtlessly do much to flesh out this paean to Terkel's hometown. As text, however, Chicago is too obviously aimed at those Second City dwellers who wish to revel in nostalgia and self-congratulation. For others, it is likely to prove frustrating and less than completely satisfying.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1986

ISBN: 0517050668

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986

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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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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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