So often reviewers of biographies get hopelessly lost in the details of the subject’s life and often forget to mention how the biographer handled the subject. The result is that readers more often than not come away with more knowledge about the subject but little to no knowledge about the new biography–about the book itself.
Not so with the recent review of American Luthier just published this past month by the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Earl G. Williams, Senior Scientist for Structural Acoustics at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., did not make that error. In fact, he captured the essence of what this biographer was trying to do in handling a very complicated subject whose story went so many divergent directions.
The frosting on the cake is that Williams viewed the Hutchins story through rare and special lenses because he actually knew Hutchins and even participated in a concert in which he performed on her tenor violin. To read the review, go to: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4964705.