A provocative collection of family correspondence, but one that will leave readers with unanswered questions.

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KEPT IN THE DARK

A largely epistolary debut memoir about a shocking family secret.

After his father’s death in 2000, philanthropist and gallery owner York writes, he discovered a boxful of letters and newspaper clippings in his parents’ shed. When he read its contents, he says, he learned that in the 1950s, when York was 2 years old, his father, Bob, spent two months in a Miami jail after his arrest for sexually abusing a minor in the Boy Scout troop that he led. During his father’s incarceration, he and York’s mother, Joyce, exchanged letters nearly daily. In addition, most evenings, the young author and his mom would park on the street outside the jail, so that Bob could see them from his window. He and Joyce exchanged signals—mostly about the status of his case—by flashing car headlights or lighting matches. In the letters, both parents communicated their frustration with the slow progress of the legal process but also affirmed their love and devotion to each other. Joyce also related news about the young author, as well as of other family members and friends. These family relationships were complicated, however, by the fact that Bob’s accuser was his nephew—Joyce’s sister’s son. York brackets this collection with his own commentary; the chapters before the letters provide background and brief biographical information, and those following relate what happened after Bob was released from jail. The author says that he didn’t learn of his father’s crime and incarceration until after both his parents had died, and that despite his efforts, he couldn’t find much information beyond what was in the letters themselves; as a result, readers will be left to wonder about some aspects of the story—for example, if Joyce’s support and forgiveness were as complete as the letters suggest. York’s inclusion of numerous family photographs, however, effectively illustrates how the author’s mother strove to make his life as normal as possible, and images of the documents add visual interest. York writes that he was a victim of unrelated sexual abuse himself, which made it difficult for him to process this previously unsuspected information about his father, whom he loved. Indeed, he neither makes excuses nor questions his parent’s guilt in this narrative. Instead, he presents the facts as he knows them and allows readers to draw their own conclusions.

A provocative collection of family correspondence, but one that will leave readers with unanswered questions.   

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9982734-0-2

Page Count: 302

Publisher: St. Broadway Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2017

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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