An elegiac, bittersweet, and well-told account of a remarkable man’s life.




Ross’ debut recounts the gripping life of Holocaust survivor Abe Peck.

Ross met Peck while volunteering at a survivors’ event; the result is a book-length interview. The author supplements Peck’s story with personal material and historical background. Peck’s childhood home, the Polish town of Szadek, was invaded by Nazi forces when he was 14 years old. Over the next six years, Peck survived the ghetto, work camps, and forced marches, finally being liberated by Allied forces at age 20. Though Peck’s survival is in a sense a triumph over the Third Reich, the overall tone here is more mournful than triumphant. Peck is part of the 2.5 percent of Szadek’s Jewish population that survived the Holocaust. He lost 83 of his 89 immediate relatives. Peck himself is quick to state that his survival was as much luck—being a certain number in an SS roll call, for example—as it was persistence. Photographs of lost family members further communicate this sense of immense loss. Peck recalls experiences of grief, grueling labor, illness, starvation, anti-Semitism, and cruelty. After his liberation, he married another survivor, had a son, and built a successful furniture business in the United States. A particularly bittersweet chapter portrays Peck’s return to Szadek to help rededicate the town’s Jewish cemetery. While Ross is an able writer, the real impetus of the book comes from Peck: thoughtful, generous, and a natural storyteller. His quietly devastating account of his adolescence is accompanied by incisive reflection on the ways his experiences shaped his life and sense of self. Ross is clearly a good interviewer, although she sometimes intrudes. She describes the death of Abe’s father, for example, as “heart-wrenching”; of course it was, but such interjections are a distraction. Still, the book is an affecting and effective portrait.

An elegiac, bittersweet, and well-told account of a remarkable man’s life.

Pub Date: March 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9964708-0-3

Page Count: 298

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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