BILL GRAHAM PRESENTS

MY LIFE INSIDE ROCK AND OUT

Fascinating story of the rock impresario, who led many lives to the fullest. Graham (1931-91), raised in a Berlin orphanage, was sent to the US at age 11, fleeing the pogrom. After serving in Korea, he was an actor; Latin dancer; motorcycle vagabond in Europe; and waiter at the Concord resort hotel—where he undertook his first entrepreneurial project, running an undercover crap game for the guests. Moving to San Francisco, he helped organize the first Trips Festival, with the Merry Pranksters, Big Brother, and the Warlocks (later the Grateful Dead). Graham, who knew only Latin music, opened the Fillmore auditorium and booked acts by asking bands, ``Who is your favorite musician?'' He soon became a favorite among musicians as an honest promoter who paid generously and treated them royally. Greenfield (The Spiritual Supermarket, 1975, etc.), who has constructed his book entirely through first-person voices, puts its heart in the 60's and in the Fillmores East and West. Graham, Owsley Stanley (infamous LSD chemist), Jerry Garcia, other musicians, and Graham's longtime employees here relate what's perhaps the most engrossing collection of anecdotes ever assembled about the era. Especially wonderful are Graham's descriptions of Ike Turner with his pearl- handled revolver clearing the way through a riot for an ermine- clad Tina; of how, for four years, the Grateful Dead tried every devious way they could think of to get Graham high on acid (and finally succeeded); and of Otis Redding in his first performance before the Flower Children. Graham went on to manage tours for such groups as the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and to organize Live Aid and other world benefits. He died in a helicopter crash at age 60. Tremendous fun for rock fans and an affecting portrait of an extraordinary man. (Fifty b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 1992

ISBN: 0-385-24077-5

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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