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

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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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