THE LAST IMPRESARIO

THE LIFE, TIMES, AND LEGACY OF SOL HUROK

An exhaustive account of Hurok's life (1888-1974) and career that disputes the ballet/music presenter's own version (S. Hurok Presents, 1953). Robinson (Sergei Prokofiev, 1987) wants to show a lonely, self-important man: Hurok's family life as pictured here was notable for the distance Hurok kept from wives (the first was discarded for being too ``old country'') and daughter (Isaac Stern seems the only friend who really liked Hurok). But no one can dispute the career: the ``humble boyhood in the oppressed Old Country,'' as Hurok portrayed it, through ``enterprising youth in opportunity-rich America, prosperous and useful adulthood.'' Hurok started out in the 1920's as a ballet presenter to an uninitiated US public. Anna Pavlova was one of his first big artists, and Robinson interjects his own prejudices into that relationship: ``that a deeply spiritual, frequently prudish, and rigorously circumspect woman like Pavlova would ever have entered into a sexual liaison with a squat, ill-spoken, and nearly illiterate Jewish immigrant like Hurok seems highly improbable.'' Robinson follows Hurok's development as a musical presenter even as his ballet work floundered—his total dismissal of American dance led to ongoing feuds with Agnes de Mille and Lucia Chase. Robinson seems reluctant to give Hurok credit (indeed, he often doesn't seem to like his subject), but he does admire the publicity and pressure tactics leading to Marian Anderson's historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Hurok's last big triumph was importing Soviet acts during the cold war; it led, however, to the 1972 bombing of his New York office by the Jewish Defense League: friends and associates agreed that this was the beginning of Hurok's physical decline. He died two years later, in his 80s. Hurok was the last of his kind; and Robinson does shed a lot more light than earlier quasi-autobiographies. A sometimes wobbly accounting but, overall, worthwhile.

Pub Date: March 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-670-82529-8

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1994

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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IN MY PLACE

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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