A practiced explorer in the age-old search for sunlit youth, the author here proves himself a sentimental gentleman of rock...

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WHEN WE GET TO SURF CITY

A JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA IN PURSUIT OF ROCK AND ROLL, FRIENDSHIP, AND DREAMS

Journalist Greene (And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship, 2006, etc.) reports on 15 summers playing with a venerable rock ’n’ roll band.

In 1992, the author was permitted to join the ex-boys in a hot rod/surfers’ band headed by Jan and Dean, survivors in the world of touring oldies packages. Greene traveled and sang and picked with the summer soldiers, whom he came to admire greatly. The California lost boys played “Surfin’ USA” and “Honolulu Lulu” in Elko, Nev., and Blue Ash, Ohio, in fairgrounds, stadiums and casinos. They belted “Little Deuce Coupe” in Lac du Flambeau, Wis., and Burgettstown, Pa., and sang “Ride the Wild Surf” in Cassopolis, Mich., in Fort Wayne, Cambridge and Roanoke. There were overnights in Quality, Best Western, La Quinta, Holiday and Hampton Inns, rations of local ice cream, barbecue and cheeseburgers, the fare at White Castles and Waffle Houses. In the heartland, they encountered Elvis impersonators and the real Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. And they met America. The devoted fans, the rotten gigs and the music were all wonderful. Greene sings of the music and of the brotherhood. He paints moving portraits of Dean Torrence and especially Jan Berry, who suffered grievous injury in a car crash some four decades ago. Underlying the celebration of the band’s skill and perseverance is the poignant story of Jan’s slow fade and Dean’s affectionate care of his partner. Greene’s memoir is, after all, a love story. He recalls the great guitar licks and the happy crowds of those treasured warm-weather months, regularly evoking to good effect “the promise of summer days and summer nights.”

A practiced explorer in the age-old search for sunlit youth, the author here proves himself a sentimental gentleman of rock ’n’ roll.

Pub Date: May 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-37529-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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