THE TIMES OF MY LIFE

AND MY LIFE WITH THE TIMES

An honest, bracing memoir from one of the nation’s most distinguished journalists. This is a tale of escape, assimilation, and success. Frankel, retired executive editor of the New York Times, fled as a child with his mother from Germany on one of the last visas issued by the US Embassy in Berlin after the outbreak of war. The visa was obtained because of the efforts of his mother, a kind of human Roadrunner adept at narrow escapes, who faced down the Nazis in feats of courage and wicked wit. His father went east through Siberian camps; surviving, he finally escaped Soviet anti-Semitism and bribed his way to New York. The son, scarcely daunted, took up newspaper work at Columbia University and never looked back. This critical, self-critical, and wise story of Frankel’s life will also be catnip to those who wish to learn more of the internal history of the Times. In sharp portraits of those with whom he worked (James “Scotty” Reston and Arthur “Punch” Sulzberger among them), Frankel reveals much of the newspaper’s role in events at which he had a ringside seat: Khrushchev’s Soviet Union, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Pentagon Papers and its resulting path-breaking First Amendment defense, and Watergate. While not everyone will sympathize fully with Frankel’s justifications for all the changes that have overtaken newsroom culture, his own paper, or American journalism—changes for which he was in part responsible—few will tire of his stories and reflections about them. And everyone will gain from his clear explanations of journalistic codes of reportage and behavior. While much of his chronicle concerns his professional life, one also gets a clear sense of Frankel the son, husband, and father—and of the principles, intelligence, and personality that eased his way along. Informative, thoughtful, delightful. (32 pages photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-679-44824-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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