A well-crafted, wistful memoir of life in higher education.


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Hirsch (The Enigma of Felix Frankfurter, 2014 etc.) discusses his long career in the shifting culture of academia in this debut memoir.

Born gay into a Jewish family in Chicago in 1952 and shaped forever by the assassinations and tumult of 1968, Hirsch was set irreversibly on a career of studying political science. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in the early 1970s, he found himself molded by Marx, Shakespeare, and Richard Nixon. At Princeton in the mid-’70s, he considered abandoning academia for New York, though he now thinks his decision to stay saved him from an uncertain fate in the subsequent AIDS epidemic. At Harvard in the late ’70s, he received a job offer before he even finished his dissertation. His subsequent career would take him to colleges in California, Minnesota, and Ohio. Through his decades as a specialist in constitutional law, Hirsch noted the changing face of American politics as well as academia. In his view, the government has increasingly forsaken its obligation to students, while universities have metamorphosed into unaffordable and irresponsible institutions predicated on the undercompensated work of adjuncts. Additionally, Hirsch charts his own evolution as a man and educator, aging against the ever youthful and regenerative backdrop of incoming classes of students, attempting to maintain perspective in a mutable world. The author’s writing style bears all the marks of a seasoned lecturer: it is digressive, idiosyncratic, and lived-in. The book, divided into chapters with names like “Politics 101” and “Drama: Advanced Seminar,” allows Hirsch to take a topical approach to his life. His fluid prose varies to fit the subject at hand. A chapter centered on geography becomes a Whitmanesque litany of places out of order: “Rivers. The Charles. The Seine. Oceans and beaches. Ogunquit, Maine. Herring Cove, Provincetown. Coronado in San Diego, reading thick library books while tanned, perfect bodies played volleyball around me.” Subjective and impressionistic, the work meanders and becomes occasionally dry. Even so, the author’s voice is so cozy and sincere that the reader happily follows him through his recollections, wherever they may lead.

A well-crafted, wistful memoir of life in higher education. 

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61027-338-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Quid Pro

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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