CAUTION TO THE WINDS by Ira Hirschmann


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Caution to the Winds is Ira Hirschmann's bargain-sale memoir, a Jewish-American success story, full of Harry Golden-like goodies, Saturday Evening Post personalities and all-out humanitarianism: genial, gaga, heartfelt and hard-hitting, inspiring, intimate, intriguing. Three decades (the thirties through the fifties) of dedication in business, politics, diplomacy and random piano playing careen by. A cut-rate Renaissance man, Ira rose from a Bamberger office boy to Lord and Taylor publicity man to vice-president of Saks, then of Bloomingdale's. He was Roosevelt's secret emissary to Turkey, negotiating the rescue of Hungarian Jews; he had a run-in with General Clay over the surviving refugees of post-war Germany; for Ben Gurion, he conferred with Nasser; for our State Department, unofficially, with Tito; as Inspector General of UNRRA he rearranged DP camps, tackled and tempered the Middle Eastern tempests. Along with Toscanini and La Guardia he won a One World Award, managed WABF-FM symphonic series, founded the New Friends of Music; he took lessons from Schnabel, dined with Justices Brandeis and Frankfurter. All these scenes, events, people and after-dinner anecdotes fill out a brightly-ribboned, bustling book-of a man, his time and his tributes to many, including himself.

Publisher: David McKay