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In Sunday's pages: Jerry Weintraub, Anne Lamott and baseball

April 4, 2010 | 10:04 am


Jerry Weintraub has been a music producer and a movie mogul, but mostly he's really good at being the guy behind the scenes. And he's pulling back the curtains in his new memoir, "When I Stop Talking." RJ Smith, who talked to Weintraub at his desert mountain home, writes that the book "is anything but a rote, let-the-record-show memoir." Smith writes:

For a fat tract of the last half of the last century, Weintraub was the Man Behind the Man, whether the man was Sinatra, Elvis or George H.W. Bush.

Long ago, Weintraub realized that the guy who does favors is never far from the guy who has favors done for him. One thing parlays into another. His firm, Concerts West, revolutionized the form in the 1960s. He managed recording artists and then moved on to producing television, Broadway shows and movies. He became chairman of United Artists. And he still works the phone.

Baseball season starts this weekend; David Davis rounds up four new baseball books: "1921: The Yankees, the Giants, & the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York" by Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg; "Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson" by Timothy M. Gay; "High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time" by Tim Wendel; and "The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad" by Robert Elias.

Also in our pages, Anne Lamott's new novel, "Imperfect Birds," is reviewed by Samantha Dunn.

With the authority of an anthropologist, Lamott renders the very current world of what it is to be an upper middle-class, progressive parent in a place like the Bay Area. She's practically the Margaret Mead of the NPR-listening, sweat-lodge-going, mint-tea-drinking, art-house-movie-watching, Alcoholics Anonymous-attending, Schubert- and Bach-listening, vegan-dinner-eating, Indian-smock-wearing world....

In her nonfiction, Lamott has written extensively with freshness and insight about her own travails with addiction and the search for spirituality and meaning in life. In this fictional world, however, those same topics appear two-dimensional, handled by rote.

Find all of our Sunday books piece here.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Jerry Weintraub at his home overlooking Palm Desert, Calif. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times