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Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop

Lelyveld, Joseph

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ISBN 10: 0374225907 / ISBN 13: 9780374225902
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2005
Condition: Very good Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

226 pages Illus. Signed by the author. 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. The son of a Cleveland rabbi dives into his family history, presenting a candid but compassionate portrayal of his father, who walks a tenuous line between his politics and his public role as a clergyman, and his mother, a Shakespearean scholar whose independence causes strife in the family. The author's work on South Africa, entitled Move Your Shadow, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1986. Bookseller Inventory # 47678

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: very good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition. First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

The profoundly moving family history of one of America's greatest newspapermen.

As his father lies dying, Joseph Lelyveld finds himself in the basement of the Cleveland synagogue where Arthur Lelyveld was the celebrated rabbi. Nicknamed "the memory boy" by his parents, the fifty-nine-year-old son begins to revisit the portion of his father's life recorded in letters, newspaper clippings, and mementos stored in a dusty camp trunk. In an excursion into an unsettled and shakily recalled period of his boyhood, Lelyveld uses these artifacts, and the journalistic reporting techniques of his career as an author and editor, to investigate memories that have haunted him in adult life..

With equal measures of candor and tenderness, Lelyveld unravels the tangled story of his father and his mother, a Shakespeare scholar whose passion for independence led her to recoil from her roles as a clergyman's wife and, for a time, as a mother. This reacquired history of his sometimes troubled family becomes the framework for the author's story; in particular, his discovery in early adolescence of the way personal emotions cue political choices, when he is forced to choose sides between his father and his own closest adult friend, a colleague of his father's who is suddenly dismissed for concealing Communist ties.

Lelyveld's offort 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. His excursion becomes both a meditation on the selectivity and unreliability of memory and a testimony to the possibilities, even late in life, for understanding and healing. As Lelyveld seeks out the truth of his life story, he evokes a remarkable moment in our national story with unforgettable poignancy.

About the Author:

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.

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