An affecting portrayal of youthfulness stained by war.



A woman chronicles her childhood in Germany during and after World War II in this debut memoir. 

When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, the members of Yearman’s family knew their lives in Germany would be transformed. Two years later, their town, Kiel, would be regularly bombed by British warplanes. In 1941, the author’s father explained to her that he had no choice but to send her away temporarily—all children between the ages of 6 and 10 living near military targets were compelled to relocate to the countryside. Yearman was sent to Seidel, a small farming village 300 miles east, and she was taken in by Anna Arndt, a kind woman who lived with her parents. The author was 6, attending school for the first time, and was fortunate to avoid the fate of so many of the era’s displaced children, who were exploited for free labor. Yearman’s temporary arrangement became a long-term one, and she fled Seidel with her new family in 1945 to avoid invading Soviet troops, briefly settling in Swinemunde, a Russian-occupied territory that was relatively stable. It was dangerous for her custodians to amble about freely because of the hostile Soviet forces. So Yearman spent much of her time scavenging for their food (“In general, the Russian soldiers had the decency to leave children alone”). The family eventually returned to Seidel, but it was now technically a Polish territory under Soviet rule and became too perilous. Warned by a Russian soldier of German descent of an imminent raid, they fled yet again. In her engrossing book (written with debut author Hanisch), Yearman recalls that she would not return to her father until she was 11, with her mother now dead from diphtheria. The prose artfully combines an unflinchingly honest account of Yearman’s travails with beautifully poetic descriptions. After she watched a ferry that departed from Swinemunde explode from contact with a mine, she observed the wreckage: “A carcass of a cow. I understood that animals died. I knew that. Then I realized, with clarity, that the people on that ferry had died too, just like the shattered cow floating in the water.” Yearman’s remembrance, which features some family photographs, is poignant, filled with vivid details but unembellished by maudlin sentiment. She allows the genuine power of her autobiographical drama to speak for itself. 

An affecting portrayal of youthfulness stained by war.

Pub Date: June 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-89121-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Third Path Press

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2018

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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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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