COMING APART

AMERICA AND THE HARVARD RIOTS OF 1969: A MEMOIR

Rosenblatt, a contributing editor at Time and essayist on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, unhappily recalls the turmoil that ``exposed an entire generational rift and touched upon antagonisms that have not been mended to this day.'' Months of verbal hostilities were set off by the violent (by Harvard standards) takeover of a campus building in an antiwar protest by SDS members and their allies, which was followed by the police overreaction, administrative hand-wringing, and widespread rejection of personal responsibility that those who lived through the era will recall as the usual sequence of events. As a young instructor popular with both students and faculty, Rosenblatt was named to a committee charged with investigating the incident and recommending discipline for many of the participants. The man in the middle predictably ended up displeasing both sides. Rosenblatt (The Man in the Water and Other Essays, 1994, etc.), finds the principal cause of the students' bad behavior in an atmosphere of loneliness and alienation that seemed to be part of Harvard's institutional heritage. Despite that measure of sympathy, his judgment of the Harvard undergraduates of the period (who included Al Gore, Michael Kinsley, Al Franken, Mark Helprin, and Tommy Lee Jones) is tough: ``The students were not only sure they were right; they were sure they were wonderful.'' On the other hand, his disillusionment with the professoriat, most of which he found ``mean and narrow-mind,'' ultimately drove him from academe. Rosenblatt was a decade older than the Baby Boomers he taught, and he describes his younger self as essentially apolitical; one can question whether he comprehends even now the force of Vietnam in driving much of a younger generation to excess. His account nonetheless rings true. Not only perceptive, it's also one of the more entertaining memoirs of the era. (b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: April 9, 1997

ISBN: 0-316-75726-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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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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IN MY PLACE

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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