Not just some of the country’s finest personal journalism, but some of its finest journalism, period.

THE BEHOLDER’S EYE

A COLLECTION OF AMERICA’S FINEST PERSONAL JOURNALISM

A collection of first-person journalism edited by former Washington Post reporter Harrington (The Everlasting Stream, 2002, etc.).

Harrington (Literary Journalism/Univ. of Illinois, Urban-Champaign) here aims to dispel the old journalistic cliché: that a journalist writing about him/herself is always “self-indulgent and, quite likely, narcissistic.” He couldn’t have put together a better lineup of writers to make the point that it doesn’t have to be. Scott Anderson’s “Prisoners of War,” a 40-page mini-opus about the thrill and horror of being a war reporter, depicts with astonishing honesty the almost limitless selfishness that moves danger-seekers. The author flickers back and forth between his quixotic, quite possibly insane search for a missing man in one of the most dangerous parts of Chechnya and his near-execution, along with brother Jon Lee Anderson (known for his reports from Baghdad), at the hands of Tamil Tigers. Anderson’s piece is almost matched by Davis Miller’s “My Dinner with Ali,” in which the writer goes looking for the aged boxer and ends up practically getting adopted by the champ’s family, who are quite used to Ali bringing home strays. Even lesser pieces are well executed: “A Day at the Dogfights” may be laden with tired hardboiled clichés, but Harry Crews crams it fit to burst with vivid imagery; and Mike Sager’s “Last Tango in Tahiti,” the Apocalypse Now–esque story of hunting down Marlon Brando for an interview, is as funny as it is self-aggrandizing. “Her Blue Haven” is a Sunday-magazine-style recollection by L.A. sportswriter Bill Plaschke of his meeting with a rabid Dodgers fan afflicted with cerebral palsy. It could have been the most sentimental piece of the bunch; instead, it is a crushingly painful story rendered with true beauty.

Not just some of the country’s finest personal journalism, but some of its finest journalism, period.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2005

ISBN: 0-8021-4224-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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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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