A study of Callas (1923-77) not to be missed. Scott (Artistic Director/London Opera Society; The Great Caruso, 1988) met and saw Callas perform several times in houses throughout the world and proves even more personally knowledgeable and fine-tuned about her voice than John Ardoin did in his encyclopedic The Callas Legacy (1977). Though a biography that breaks myths and draws upon fresh accounts written by Callas's family and secretary during the past decade, as well as upon interviews with Callas's fellow singers, conductors, and producers, this is as much a book about singing as about a person. The focus is equally upon the voice as the life, or upon the life of the voice, with only about a ten-year span in which the voice was at its most secure and responsive to every nuance of feeling Callas wished it to produce. Born in New York, she early began vocal training, went to Greece in the late 30's to study, began concertizing and learning roles. Most adept at florid bel canto, her voice stood up to the rigors of Isolde, Turandot, and Leonora, roles that called for a big sound to battle against the orchestra. She gave up these roles (Turandot was ``a voice-wrecker,'' and houses called for Isoldes in German, not Callas's limpid, spontaneous, tender Italian), turned largely to Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti, and the young Verdi, in whom she found huge rooms of fresh vocal drama untouched by fellow singers, allowing space for her dramatic coloratura. While still ``amazingly fat,'' and jealous of her svelte sister, Jackie (as she was to be later of another svelte Jackie), she married her aging patron, Giovanni Meneghini, and in her voice's declining years ran off with aging billionaire Aristotle Onassis. Callas died in Paris, weakened by pills, abandoned by Ari. A feast for fans, refreshing as a bowl of sun-ripened pears. (Illustrations—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 1992

ISBN: 1-55553-146-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992


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

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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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