An often gripping account of a tempestuous half-century.

Through the Eyes of an Immigrant

A refugee from the Soviet Union settles in the United States and hustles to make a life there in this memoir.

In 1949, after fleeing Ukraine and attending a university in Germany, Konstantin (A Red Boyhood—Growing Up Under Stalin, 2008) landed in Boston. He had only $22 to his name, warily hidden in the lining of his pants, and the support of his sponsor, the New York Association for New Americans. It wasn’t easy for him to find work as a mechanical engineer, so he barely made ends meet by leapfrogging from one menial job to another. He finally found more promising employment in Ohio and was eventually able, in 1969 at the age of 40, to start his own business with his brother, Bill. Along the way, he fell in love with a woman named Rosaria Puccio, and they married and had children. The author negotiated their religious differences—he’s decidedly secular and she was raised Catholic—with the help of the Ethical Culture Society, a humanist philosophical group that emphasizes the shared moral ground of the world’s major theologies. Konstantin, an avid reader and lifelong student, later earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in industrial management. In this book, he constantly situates his own personal experience in the context of geopolitical affairs, which largely meant the dramatic unfolding of the Cold War. He also includes astute discussions of American politics, never shying away from analysis of major political figures, such as presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, or watershed events, such as the Bay of Pigs and Watergate. One recurrent theme is his exasperation with Western credulity: “I was still haunted by the question of why so many Americans and European intellectuals…still believed the Soviet propaganda.” This is the second installment of the author’s memoirs, and as in many autobiographies, there’s plenty of space devoted to quotidian affairs—the details of vacations, personal financial matters, and the like. These discussions will largely interest those who know the author personally, particularly his family members. However, his discussions of communism’s unraveling, and of its intellectual attraction to Westerners, provide a stirring testimony of real, though sometimes-ignored, global atrocities. It establishes Konstantin as an extraordinary moral witness who faithfully recorded depredations that man visited upon his fellow man in the name of ideology.

An often gripping account of a tempestuous half-century.

Pub Date: April 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944785-03-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Konstantin Memoirs

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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