History and private life interfused utterly by a master writer in a way at once authentic, unpretentious, moving, and of...



Now that he alone of his immediate family is still alive, this remarkable German writer (The Invention of Curried Sausage, 1995, etc.) produces a group memoir that, with piercing intelligence, reawakens—and grieves over—a dreadful history.

Born in 1940 the youngest of three siblings, Timm calls himself “the afterthought” of the family, in deference to his brother, Karl-Heinz, 16 years Timm’s senior, a member at age 18 of the Death’s Head division of the SS, and dead of wounds near Kiev by late 1943. What now remains of this absent but loomingly significant older brother is only a small collection of personal items, among them a diary, kept daily during military action in Ukraine. Its omissions speak most loudly for Timm (“There is nothing about prisoners. . . . Why were they not worth mentioning?”), as does its thunderously understated final entry: “I close my diary here, because I don’t see any point in recording the cruel things that sometimes happen.” In the light of what those “cruel things” must have been, Timm, drawing on memory, family lore, and his own extensive reading, goes back into the history both of his family and of Germany itself from the 1920s on, refusing throughout to flinch, forgive, or meliorate. His father, a furrier in Hamburg, tried hard to keep up the appearance of well-being and status, but in the end, surviving into the 1950s and sinking into alcoholism, his was to be a “life that failed.” Equivalent memories of his dutiful mother and unmarried older sister strike the same note of effort, sorrow, and the unfulfilled. But above all looms the lost brother, an ever-present barrier between the surviving Timm and his grieving father, so that “my own existence was always called into question,” both by the brother as lost son, and by the brother as lost nation.

History and private life interfused utterly by a master writer in a way at once authentic, unpretentious, moving, and of extraordinary significance.

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-374-10374-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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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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