A real-life Frank Capra tale, just as corny, sentimental and inspiring as It's a Wonderful Life.




Hokey but charming memoir, reminiscent of an afternoon spent flipping through the pages of an antique photo album.

Although an autobiography, Coleman chronicles his life in the third person with a dispassion and modesty remarkable for a novice writer. It is perhaps the era that speaks through his prose—not a child of the "Me Decade," Coleman reminds us that the past was, indeed, more difficult than the present. And people certainly tended to whine a good deal less back then. The account begins chronologically, with his birth in 1902 to pioneer parents, their eighth child. By the time he was nine, the family had moved to their own homestead in Myrtle Creek, Ore. That summer he contracted polio and lost the use of his legs. Overcoming his crippled condition occupied a good portion of his youth, admirably marked by self-reliance and invention. He whittled his own crutches, made violins and, at 19, attempting to find a trade that would accommodate his physical condition, paid a jeweler $25 per month in order to serve as an apprentice to the watchmaker. As a young man in the '20s, he married and became a father, then established himself as sole proprietor of a jewelry store. The narrative is interspersed with photographs, newspaper clippings, Coleman's poems (an unfortunate weakness), musical scores (also not very solid), jewelry designs and the Coleman family tree. At a glance, Coleman’s history, aside from his disability, is not unusual. He becomes one of the leading merchants of a small town, state archery champion, and president of the Lion's Club. His would seem to be the unremarkable chronicle of a small-town success of interest to no one outside his family. Even so, it's his banality that is oddly compelling. Following the ups and downs of the Coleman jewelry store through the Depression, World War II, and the post-war era up until Coleman's death in 1972, is an enjoyable journey through the low-key strength and integrity that sustains middle-American lives. Coleman's son, John Coleman, today runs Coleman's Jewelers, the jewelry store founded by the author, in Corvallis, Ore. (Proceeds from the sale of this book, which has an endorsement from former senator Bob Dole, will go to Rotary International's "effort to eradicate polio" and to the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University.)

A real-life Frank Capra tale, just as corny, sentimental and inspiring as It's a Wonderful Life.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 0-9754140-0-3

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2011

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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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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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