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Original Essays | September 17, 2014

Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?



My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »
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Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop

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Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the basement of the Cleveland synagogue where his father, Arthur, was a celebrated rabbi, Joseph Lelyveld finds a musty trunk of souvenirs. Applying his award-winning investigative skills, as both a newspaperman and author, Lelyveld uses his father's letters and mementos to rediscover his shakily remembered childhood, and his parent's unhappy marriage. Lelyveld's journey through personal history unexpectedly touches landmarks of the past century--the Scottsboro trials, the Zionist movement, the Hollywood blacklist, and Mississippi's "freedom summer" of 1964--and, in the words of Joan Didion, "this astonishing journal of personal discovery" combines "both a powerfully affecting family history and a political history of the most complex kind."
Joseph Lelyveld's career at The New York Times spanned nearly four decades and included stints as a correspondent in London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, and Johannesburg. He also served as the paper's foreign editor, managing editor, and, from 1994 to 2001, executive editor. He is the author of Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1986. He lives in New York.
A New York Times Notable Book

A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year

In the basement of the Cleveland synagogue where his father, Arthur, was a celebrated rabbi, Joseph Lelyveld finds a musty trunk of souvenirs. Applying his award-winning investigative skills as both a newspaper-man and author, Lelyveld uses his father's letters and mementos to rediscover his shakily remembered childhood and his parents' unhappy marriage. Lelyveld's journey through personal history unexpectedly touches landmarks of the past centurythe Scottsboro trials, the Zionist movement, the Hollywood blacklist, and Mississippi's Freedom Summer of 1964and, in the words of Joan Didion, "this astonishing journal of personal discovery" combines "both a powerfully affecting family history and a political history of the most complex kind."

"Captivating and affecting . . . His account is clear-eyed, curious, scrupulous."André Aciman, The New York Times

"It is not the habit of newspapermen, even those as accomplished as Lelyveld, a former executive editor of the Times, to write memoirs of the heart. The usual mode is wry, crackling nostalgia (Mencken and Dreiser) or institutional accounting (Arthur Gelb, Max Frankel). At the Times, Lelyveld was known as a brilliant yet shy master of the newsroom, but here he is after something nakedly personalthe secrets of his warring and troubled parents and his own injured youth. At the heart of the story is a misaligned Midwestern marriagea literary mother and a political father, who was one of the most prominent Reform rabbis in the country. Lelyveld goes about his project of retrieval bravely, with the industry, the scrupulousness, and the ruthlessness of a lifetime's reportorial discipline. The result is a book that does not care to charm, and does not; rather, it arrives at redemption and forgiveness through the meticulous act of finding out, and recording, the truth."The New Yorker

 
"Reminiscent of Proust's account of his forgotten childhood world suddenly reappearing . . . his book is more like life than memoir . . . Remarkable."Russell Baker, The New York Review of Books
 
"Lelyveld has blessed us with a careful, sensitive, and moving book . . . A triumph of storytelling."Philip Connors, Newsday
 
"Omaha Blues is an intensely personal book. What saves it from navel-gazing is Lelyveld's painfully beautiful writing and his distanced, almost analytical, portrayal of his parents' flaws and his own unhappiness. His father, while loving, was mostly absent from Joseph's life, jaunting around the country for his causes. His mother, plagued by mental illness and suicide attempts, was clearly disenchanted with motherhood. During the summer of his sixth year, Joseph was left with a family of strangers in rural Nebraska, where he contemplated his abandonment. Critics called the book moving and unforgettable for its personal elements and cited its glimpses into the civil rights and Zionist movements, in which the elder Lelyveld was deeply involved."Donna Marchetti, The Plain Dealer
 
“Although his parents nicknamed him "the memory boy," former New York Times executive editor Lelyveld can't remember how he earned such a moniker. In this memoir, the author reflects on this detail as well as other familial eccentricities as he sorts through his dying father's belongings. He recalls not just his own past, but that of his rabbi father and Shakespearean scholar mother, as well as political events of their time, like the Scottsboro trials and the Zionist movement . . . Readers will appreciate and connect with the way he tries to unravel his past and examine its details almost as they present themselvesas one would for the paper of record.”Publishers Weekly
 
"Generous, evenhanded . . . Eccentric . . . [Told] in mellifluous prose."Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

Lelyveld's effort to recapture his family history takes him on an unforeseen journey past disparate landmarks of the last century, including the Scottsboro trials, the Zionist movement, the Hollywood blacklist, McCarthyism, and Mississippi's "freedom summer" of 1964.

Synopsis:

In the basement of the Cleveland synagogue where his father, Arthur, was a celebrated rabbi, Joseph Lelyveld finds a musty trunk of souvenirs. Applying his award-winning investigative skills, as both a newspaperman and author, Lelyveld uses his father's letters and mementos to rediscover his shakily remembered childhood, and his parent's unhappy marriage. Lelyveld's journey through personal history unexpectedly touches landmarks of the past century--the Scottsboro trials, the Zionist movement, the Hollywood blacklist, and Mississippi's "freedom summer" of 1964--and, in the words of Joan Didion, "this astonishing journal of personal discovery" combines "both a powerfully affecting family history and a political history of the most complex kind."

About the Author

Joseph Lelyveld's career at The New York Times spanned nearly four decades. He served as the paper's foreign editor, managing editor, and executive editor. He is the author of Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White, which won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1986. He lives in New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312425104
Author:
Lelyveld, Joseph
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
History
Subject:
Rabbis
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
Internal security -- United States -- History.
Subject:
Anti-communist movements -- United States.
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20060331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 25 halftones throughout
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.549 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs
History and Social Science » Journalism » General

Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop Used Trade Paper
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$7.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Picador USA - English 9780312425104 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Lelyveld's effort to recapture his family history takes him on an unforeseen journey past disparate landmarks of the last century, including the Scottsboro trials, the Zionist movement, the Hollywood blacklist, McCarthyism, and Mississippi's "freedom summer" of 1964.
"Synopsis" by ,
In the basement of the Cleveland synagogue where his father, Arthur, was a celebrated rabbi, Joseph Lelyveld finds a musty trunk of souvenirs. Applying his award-winning investigative skills, as both a newspaperman and author, Lelyveld uses his father's letters and mementos to rediscover his shakily remembered childhood, and his parent's unhappy marriage. Lelyveld's journey through personal history unexpectedly touches landmarks of the past century--the Scottsboro trials, the Zionist movement, the Hollywood blacklist, and Mississippi's "freedom summer" of 1964--and, in the words of Joan Didion, "this astonishing journal of personal discovery" combines "both a powerfully affecting family history and a political history of the most complex kind."
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