A lighter-than-air autobiography by the leader of Liverpool's second-greatest '60s pop band. Marsden, lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers—foremost practitioners, with the Beatles, of his city's once-celebrated ``Merseybeat'' sound—whips through his life with the speed of a greatest-hits medley: He was kept in a suitcase beneath hall stairs during London air raids; as an infant he was enchanted by his father's ukelele playing; he brawled with mates in the Dingle, the Irish working-class neighborhood where he came of age. An engaging stage presence with a somewhat thin voice, Marsden came up at a time when 240 Liverpool bands were competing for a place in the suddenly global pop scene. In 1963, the Pacemakers scored three number-one British hits in a row—a feat still unmatched. Marsden's rendition of Rogers and Hammerstein's ``You'll Never Walk Alone'' has become the official song of Liverpool's soccer team, his ``Ferry Cross the Mersey'' a kind of Liverpool anthem. Accounts (written with Coleman, The Man Who Made the Beatles, 1989) of friendships with the Beatles (Marsden purloined his wife, Pauline, from George Harrison) and of early days honing his sound in Hamburg are the book's most interesting. Following the death of manager Brian Epstein, whom he describes as a lovable ``honest fool,'' Marsden starred in two musicals before reforming the Pacemakers and becoming the staple of '60s nostalgia shows. Marsden's tone is fittingly modest, and he seems intent on proving he's still a hometown boy—unlike the Beatles, who ``went for the arty clique.'' A closing passage suggests both Marsden's philosophy and his book's limitations: ``Sixties...songs were happy, the music simple and the lyrics nice to listen to. We didn't try to change the world.'' (16 pages b&w photos; discography)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-7475-1473-9

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Collins & Brown/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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