There’s plenty of vinegar here but plenty of the homespun and funny Twain as well. Essential for serious students of his...



A century after his death, the great American writer and controversialist speaks plainly—and sometimes not so nicely—from beyond the grave.

Earlier editions of this autobiography appeared throughout the 20th century, but Twain instructed that the unexpurgated version not appear for a century to spare the feelings not just of individuals, but also of their grandchildren. The great-grandchildren are on their own, however, and here Twain lights in with delight on unscrupulous publishers, swindling partners, unethical corporate barons and politicians. As he announced in planning his memoirs, which he began in 1870 and worked on until nearly the end of his life, Twain was not going to bind himself to the rules of chronology (and perhaps not those of the strict truth, either) but instead, would indulge his storytelling wont, being “as digressive and discursive as he likes,” in the words of the volume editors. That is just so, and Twain ambles here and there, from childhood to reminiscences of his friendship with U.S. Grant, recording his adventures and misadventures and his wide travels. From this volume, we learn, for instance, that England was woefully behind the times in telephony in 1896 (“Years ago there was a telephone system in England, but in the country parts it is about dead, and what is left of it in London has no value”), that he was 10 when he thrilled to the accomplishments of the Antarctic explorer Charles Wilkes, and that Twain was a resolute and angry anti-imperialist and a scourge of politicians more fiery than even his image of old would have it—even though, his editors note, he was a Republican as early as 1868.

There’s plenty of vinegar here but plenty of the homespun and funny Twain as well. Essential for serious students of his work and readable and revealing for all its surrounding scholarly apparatus.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-520-26719-0

Page Count: 736

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2013

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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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