A thoughtful look at animal intelligence and the human-dog connection.



Wilderness writer Kerasote finds his place in the pack with the help of a sociable dog.

While camping with friends along the San Juan River, the author was approached by an emaciated Labrador retriever-mix. Merle, as the stray would come to be named, “looked back to the shore, and let out a resigned sigh—I was to learn that he was a great sigher.” Then he boarded Kerasote’s raft. At journey’s end, the author took Merle home to Kelly, Wyo., a half-mile square of private land nestled among Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge and the Gros Ventre Wilderness. In this rural setting, Merle’s obvious desire for independence led Kerasote to install a dog door: “Why should I treat Merle—who had become the best of friends—like an indentured servant, at my beck and call in return for food and lodging simply because he didn’t have an opposable thumb with which to manipulate the knob on the front door?” Each day, Merle (soon nicknamed “the Mayor” by neighbors) would exit through the dog door and into the heart of the village, eagerly making his rounds. A careful observer with far-reaching interests, Kerasote reflects on everything from canine decision-making to the possible origins of dog domestication to animal consciousness. In this idyllic corner of the West, the two find love (both human and canine) and friendship, forging a remarkable bond that endures until Merle’s death. His passing—and the author’s bereavement—are recorded with Kerasote’s customary discernment.

A thoughtful look at animal intelligence and the human-dog connection.

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-101270-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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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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