A book about a former Buchenwald inmate that offers a powerful treatise on inner strength.

Yishar Koach: Forward with Strength


A debut biography of a Holocaust survivor delivers a detailed tribute to a remarkable individual.

In her acknowledgements, the author states candidly: “an evaluator by profession, I occasionally longed to write a book about someone’s life rather than an evaluation of someone’s program.” Despite meeting Ferdinand “Fred” Fragner only twice, Sloan felt that his story “cried out to be told and remembered.” Fred was born in 1915 in Nový Ji ?ín, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now in the Czech Republic. The son of a diamond cutter, he was raised in a prosperous family, until tragically orphaned at age 14. He then became a street urchin, honing skills that would later prove vital in the face of Nazi oppression. Miraculously, he completed his education and enrolled in Charles University in Prague, beginning a dissertation on clinical psychology. During this time, Hitler started annexing Czechoslovakia. Forever courageous, Fred joined an underground movement drilled to disrupt Nazi military activity. After three years, he was shot, captured, and shipped to Buchenwald. His five years at the Nazi concentration camp is a deeply affecting recollection of “humans doing inhuman things.” He speaks of a 16-year-old boy forced to hang his parents, and of his own best friend being shot randomly by an SS officer, an event that evoked lifelong nightmares. The author’s admiration for her subject is palpable throughout, to the extent that it is possible to imagine her lovingly transcribing Fred’s video and audio interviews. His voice always remains central, delivering many timely messages: “There is much hatred because people haven’t yet learned how to respect each other, how to love each other sometimes in spite of each other, to respect [each other’s] rights, to respect differences and respect and find ways of resolving troubles in talking with each other.” This tender biography’s scholarly credibility wavers at times when the author draws information from Wikipedia or TV documentaries such as Histories of the Holocaust, sources that hold little weight in a serious intellectual context. There is also a tendency to repeat information unnecessarily, such as Fred speaking “fluent German.” These are perhaps forgivable slip-ups for a new writer that could be rectified by a thorough edit. Still, this remains a well-written and thoroughly researched volume that should prove an important addition to the Holocaust canon.

A book about a former Buchenwald inmate that offers a powerful treatise on inner strength.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9976586-0-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Village Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 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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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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