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SEA TRIALS

AROUND THE WORLD WITH DUCT TAPE AND BAILING WIRE

Hinman (Tightwads on the Loose, 2012) serves up a second real-life maritime adventure.

The author’s first book charted her seven-year sailing trip around the Pacific with her husband, Garth Wilcox. In this follow-up, she recounts an around-the-world voyage that Garth took with his family as a 13-year-old boy. The crew aboard the 40-foot sailboat, christened Vela, consisted of parents Dawn and Chuck along with Garth and his reluctant 10-year-old sister, Linda. The narrative follows the Wilcox family every step of the way, from the very moment they set out from San Francisco Bay on Aug. 20, 1973. There is an immediate focus on the emotional and psychological aspects of this huge undertaking that prevails throughout the biographical tale. Garth imagined himself as a latter-day Horatio Hornblower, eager for exploits. Linda didn’t want to leave her friends or forfeit her role as captain of the football team. Their mother and father had their own worries, questioning what lay ahead and reflecting on leaving ailing parents behind. Relationships were tested as the family circumnavigated all manner of threats, including pirates and naval mines. Yet, the Wilcoxes’ determination remained admirable, particularly when they found themselves shipwrecked on a reef off the coast of Fiji and were forced to rebuild their ship. The author’s expressive writing captures the wonder of being at sea in all its glory: “Days passed quickly, their sea-going routine highlighted by the wonders of nature: meteor showers and dolphins frolicking in their bow wave, storm petrels and albatross as they soared overhead and dipped into the waves, and bioluminescence that trailed behind the boat as though Vela were a rocket shooting through an inky black sky.” Some readers may prefer the urgency of Hinman writing in the first person, as in Tightwads on the Loose. Yet, despite not having experienced this particular seafaring odyssey personally, her engaging narrative succeeds in capturing the thrills and frustrations of this intrepid family. Taking in remarkably far-flung destinations such as Christmas Island and the New Hebrides, this exhilarating book should appeal to any would-be explorer who has stood at the prow of a ship and dreamed of the possibilities. Highly readable and sufficiently evocative to sense the scent of sea air in the pages. 

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9848350-3-4

Page Count: 458

Publisher: Salsa Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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