A memoir of a self-educated teacher and his inspiring work in Alaska.
Heitman’s curiously titled debut tells the story of his life, from his struggles as a child with dyslexia to his work as an educator in Alaska. Nicknamed “Whip,” Heitman grew up believing his learning disabilities would prevent him from getting anywhere in life; he acted accordingly, getting into trouble from a young age. After a stint in the U.S. Navy, however, he realized that college was for him, and he worked hard to get through it and beyond. He loved education so much that he decided he wanted to be a teacher, first in California, then in Alaska, where he and his wife, Barbara, moved after learning from another couple about plentiful opportunities for new teachers there. They began by working in a rural village, then moved on to another, even more rural village. These passages focus mainly on life in Alaska: the effect of freezing cold temperatures on regular life, the trouble with flying small aircraft, the culture that inspired the children he worked with, etc. For anyone unfamiliar with Alaska or similar regions, this part of the book is a stunning look at how climate affects every aspect of life and how a person has to adapt to live in it. After several years, the couple moved to Fairbanks, a more metropolitan, livable area, where Heitman began working with children with handicaps and learning disabilities. Here, though there are several interesting looks at the beautiful scenery, the focus shifts away from geography and on to Heitman’s work as a teacher. He was clearly an innovative, empathetic educator, and the methods described here would be useful for anyone in the field. As a memoir, the book suffers from its strictly chronological telling: The story unfolds just as life does, paving over some of the more imaginative narrative opportunities. The memoir might have worked better as a series of essays, since an assortment of interesting themes are at play. Even so, the stories about Alaska and Heitman’s work are fascinating and worth reading, and they are straightforwardly told with humor and candor that help make this memoir a joy to read.

An inspiring, informative life story; recommended especially for teachers and those who want to venture north.

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496174987

Page Count: 394

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2014

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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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