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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Categories:

TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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