A wide-ranging memoir of an active and momentous life.




A nonagenarian inventor and operative recounts a dramatic life.

In this debut memoir, co-written with Prodger (Luftwaffe vs. RAF, 1998, etc.), Cellini leads readers through the globe-spanning series of adventures that made up his life. Born in New York and raised in Italy, Cellini was something of a juvenile delinquent before being drafted into the Italian army. He soon deserted and joined a partisan unit, taking part in their guerilla warfare until Italy was liberated. He then went to work for the Office of Strategic Services, helping to fight the black market that arose during World War II while also taking part in illicit transactions of his own. After the war, Cellini returned to the United States, accompanied by his cousin Franci, whom he married soon after arriving. As he moved from one factory job to another, his innate mechanical aptitude allowed him to create inventions and develop improvements, and Cellini ended up with more than a dozen patents to his name. He also formed connections around the world, leading him to work for the Nicaraguan government in the 1970s, carry out negotiations with Italian organized crime in the ’80s, and design a gun stabilizer for the U.S. military. The book is illustrated with both historical photographs and contemporary images. The author’s exploits sometimes verge on the picaresque, but the reader is always left with a clear sense of the danger Cellini often found himself facing, and even in the book’s most intimate scenes, violence is never far away. Cellini and Prodger have an eye for the small moments that make up this wide-ranging narrative (“Franci has left them alone with their grappa and their memories but with her impeccable sense of timing she recognizes the need to interrupt with espresso”), and although Cellini’s recollections make up the bulk of the story, it is also well-researched, with plenty of substantiating detail and further information about the many well-known figures he encountered. Cellini tells a fascinating story and keeps the reader enthralled and engaged despite the book’s length.

A wide-ranging memoir of an active and momentous life.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943492-38-1

Page Count: 558

Publisher: ELM Grove Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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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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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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