An affecting account of an American man attempting to uncover his Armenian heritage and history.

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Stories My Father Never Finished Telling Me

LIVING WITH THE ARMENIAN LEGACY OF LOSS AND SILENCE

Kalajian’s (co-author: They Had No Voice: My Fight for Alabama’s Forgotten Children, 2013, etc.) “ethno-memoir” is an elegiac reflection on growing up under the specter of the trials a family, and a whole people, experienced.

Kalajian, in his third book, touches upon both his upbringing as an American boy and his being a bearer of a tortured Armenian past. The remembrances are deeply personal meditations on what it was like to live distanced from a world with which he had very little direct contact even as it powerfully shaped his life. Readers will sense the author’s background as an investigative journalist as he tries to wrestle the facts of his history from his family’s laconic resistance to speak openly about it. Kalajian’s inscrutable father is a near mystery; only slowly, in fits and starts, does Kalajian learn about his adventurous but hardship-ridden life. He had no idea his father went to China or Borneo and no idea his father grew up in Greece or that he was raised in an orphanage. Even his more voluble mother’s tales were carefully edited and studiously redacted. While not intended as a work of rigorous scholarship, Kalajian’s book contains considerable discussion about the history of Armenians, and much is revealed about their experience with Turkish persecution and global neglect. However, this is largely an autobiographical tale. “I am not a historian, and this is not a book of facts and dates and sober analysis,” he says. “This is a story told by a man born in midair whose only hope for a good night’s sleep is to close his fingers around the frayed cord of history and tug with all his might.” His polished, sometimes even poetic prose evokes a sense of curiosity and lament. In response to his family’s silence—and to the silence of a whole people still shellshocked by their grim treatment—Kalajian has become a professional storyteller and an excellent one at that.

An affecting account of an American man attempting to uncover his Armenian heritage and history.

Pub Date: May 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615979021

Page Count: 258

Publisher: 8220 Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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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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