An attorney’s memoir of a notable case she argued on behalf of workers in American Samoa.
In a blend of personal stories, travelogue and courtroom drama, attorney Sudbury recounts a class-action lawsuit she filed on behalf of Vietnamese workers in a Samoan garment factory. The workers claimed that they found themselves in slavery-like conditions while they sewed “Made in America” labels onto clothing. The case began when several workers from the Daewoosa factory approached Sudbury and her husband to find out if they could help them recover unpaid wages. The Sudburys had settled in Samoa after several years in Baja, Calif., where they ran both a private law practice and an agency that supported abused women. Although Sudbury was initially reluctant, she agreed to take the case and became personally and emotionally involved as the challenges mounted. Daewoosa enjoyed support from the local government, and the workers had reason to believe their families in Vietnam would suffer as a result of the lawsuit. Sudbury’s frustration is palpable as she describes the pretrial process; excerpts from the courtroom transcripts make it clear to the reader that while American Samoa is, in part, governed by the laws of the United States, it’s also shaped by the local non-progressive culture. Although Sudbury and her allies fought hard for the workers’ rights, she acknowledges that the U.S. government brought real relief, by providing visas to the workers as victims of human trafficking. The government also brought criminal charges against Daewoosa’s owner that exacted a more substantial punishment than the lawsuit could. The author’s writing is engaging, if a bit unfocused at times. Sudbury sprinkles local color throughout the book, although some of the digressions on Samoan driving habits and traditional dress don’t blend seamlessly into the narrative. The story doesn’t end with a personal legal triumph, but Sudbury makes it clear in this book that she was pleased with the outcome, and changed by the experience.
A fine memoir about a lawyer’s fight for workers’ rights.
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").
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)