An odd, but affecting book that blends history, autobiography, and rock.

Blue Is Just A Word


This debut memoir gives readers two tragic deaths and a running rumination on Lincoln, the Civil War, slavery, and the author’s career as a musician.

The book opens with the funeral of Judi, Foster’s wife, leaving him with a 2-year-old daughter, Anna. Nine months before, Foster’s younger brother Dave also died of cancer after horrible suffering. Both Judi and Dave are described as almost too good, too saintly, for this earth; Foster was beyond devastated. Then the work backtracks to childhoods; the courtship of Judi; memories of Dave, his soul mate; and Foster’s success as a rock musician in the Boston area and England during the early days of the genre. He was blessed with a solid upbringing. His mother was musically inclined and also a history teacher who taught her three sons true history—the evil of slavery, for example—as against those who would distort or subvert it. This became the bedrock of Foster’s thinking (in his view, the Civil War was not about states’ rights) and, today, he is a highly respected amateur Civil War historian. Slavery remains a recurring theme, not just the institution that shamed the country in Lincoln’s time, but slavery as any addiction (Judi’s father was a hopeless alcoholic) or whatever rules and binds individuals, as Judi’s and Dave’s cancers did. Slavery is all around people and inside them, which is the basic message of the work, and the author is fervent about fighting it in all its manifestations. In fact, Foster is one of the most passionate writers readers will likely find between the two covers of a book, and it is important to emphasize that this is not feigned, that somehow the audience will know that this is not an act. But it must be added that passion, the need to tell all, to wrestle one’s demons and narrative absolutely to the ground, can be an embarrassment of riches. But for aficionados of Lincoln and the Civil War or especially the early rock scene, this should be a rich feast. There is also a helpful bibliography.

An odd, but affecting book that blends history, autobiography, and rock. 

Pub Date: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9864204-8-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Book Architecture

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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