A memoir that offers a rare, underrepresented perspective on World War II.

Why Can't Somebody Just Die Around Here?

Maroscher (Short Stories: German 1.1 Reader, 2011, etc.) recounts the challenges of being a young boy in Europe during World War II and growing up in America in its aftermath.

The author’s parents met in Romania and wed in 1939, the same year that Germany invaded Poland, igniting World War II. He was born in 1943, after his brother, Gunter. His father—a Lutheran minister, schoolteacher, and “reluctant warrior”—was called to join the Hungarian army to fight the encroaching Russian forces. The Russians’ reputation for brutality was well- known, so Maroscher’s mother decided to flee with her two boys before traveling to her sister’s house in Weimar, Germany. She took them aboard a train that was evacuating wounded German soldiers, and she braved numerous hardships, including the constant threat of air raids. They stopped in Herzogenburg, Austria, and lived at a refugee camp, formerly a monastery. The conditions were cramped and deplorable, and food was so scarce the author’s mother had to threaten the director with a gun to have access to it; her boys were all but starving. They finally made it to Weimar and lived under American occupation when the war ended, which was relatively tolerable, despite the family’s reasonable suspicions of the conquering force. Things took a turn for the worse, though, when the Americans were replaced by Russians. Maroscher’s father had been gone for two years by that point, and his mother secretly sent a note to their old home, hoping to discover whether he was alive. The family was eventually reunited and, in the face of economic hardship, immigrated to the United States. Over the years, the family gradually realized the American dream, improving their lot and achieving impressive social mobility. Maroscher’s research, while reliant upon informal interviews with family members, is impressively meticulous and thorough. The author controls the narrative like an orchestra conductor, allowing each player’s contribution to have its part within the piece as a whole. Also, he’s refreshingly candid about his own life, particularly his sometimes-troubled teenage years, and he writes with wit and compassion. The memoir’s length and detail may be challenging for readers who aren’t familiar with the Maroscher family, but students of history will be engaged by this unusual story of World War II survivors.

A memoir that offers a rare, underrepresented perspective on World War II.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9816079-6-2

Page Count: 361

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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