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Yip Harburg
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About the Author

Harriet Hyman Alonso teaches history at The City College of New York, USA and is the author of the award-winning Growing Up Abolitionist: The Story of the Garrison Children and Robert E. Sherwood: The Playwright in Peace and War.

Reviews

."..a good portrait of that picturesque leprechaun of a fellow who followed a crock of gold past that paper moon to somewhere over the rainbow."--Steven Suskin, Playbill "an excellent introduction to the artist." Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal " a good portrait of that picturesque leprechaun of a fellow who followed a crock of gold past that paper moon to somewhere over the rainbow." Steven Suskin, Playbill Publishers Weekly" Pasatiempo" The Wall Street Journal" Playbill" "In this detailed, entertaining account, Alonso gives life to a courageous man and artist who risked it all for some simple human truth."-- "Publishers Weekly" (9/10/2012 12:00:00 AM) "The book is far more lively and less politically earnest than its title suggests. In fact, it is downright chatty, being essentially a sort of oral history Alonso crafted out of nearly 50 published and unpublished transcripts of radio and television broadcasts, speeches, roundtables, and conversations in which Harburg participated over the years."--James M. Keller "Pasatiempo" (4/26/2013 12:00:00 AM) "an excellent introduction to the artist."--Joseph Epstein "The Wall Street Journal" (12/28/2012 12:00:00 AM) ..".a good portrait of that picturesque leprechaun of a fellow who followed a crock of gold past that paper moon to somewhere over the rainbow."--Steven Suskin "Playbill" (12/30/2012 12:00:00 AM) "There are several excellent books about Harburg. I'd suggest Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist. Harriet Hyman Alonso enables Harburg to talk about his life and work. He tells of his early childhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, his public school education, how the Great Depression opened the way to writing lyrics, and his work on Broadway and Hollywood, including his blacklisting during the McCarthy era. Finally, but most importantly, Harburg shares his commitment to human rights and the ways it affected his writing and his career path."--Denise Oliver Velez, Daily Kos "In Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist, historian Harriet Hyman Alonso relates the story of Isidore Hochberg, who was born in New York, of Russian-Jewish origin, and acquired the nickname 'Yip' in his youth. ... As Harburg told a New York audience in 1971, battling for civil rights came naturally to him: 'The Jews have known this for a long time. The Jews were more aware of it than any other tribe in the world because they were the first ones to suffer fascism under Pharaoh.... The first freedom rider was Moses who came along and the whole Passover Seder and ceremony is devoted entirely to freedom, to a fight for freedom, to how you get out of slavery, so that the Jews being a minority have always known that if there's any other minority being enslaved anywhere in the world that it's their fight.'"--Benjamin Ivry, The Forward "Tunesmith E.Y. Harburg (1896-1981) composed the lyrics for such hits as "April in Paris" and the Depression-era classic "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" If he had written only one song, however, he'd be in the pantheon--that ditty, heard in a 1939 movie, was "Over the Rainbow," from The Wizard of Oz. Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist reminds us of his charms."--Dick Donahue, Publishers Weekly There are several excellent books about Harburg. I d suggest Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist. Harriet Hyman Alonso enables Harburg to talk about his life and work. He tells of his early childhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, his public school education, how the Great Depression opened the way to writing lyrics, and his work on Broadway and Hollywood, including his blacklisting during the McCarthy era. Finally, but most importantly, Harburg shares his commitment to human rights and the ways it affected his writing and his career path. Denise Oliver Velez, Daily Kos" In Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist, historian Harriet Hyman Alonso relates the story of Isidore Hochberg, who was born in New York, of Russian-Jewish origin, and acquired the nickname Yip in his youth. As Harburg told a New York audience in 1971, battling for civil rights came naturally to him: The Jews have known this for a long time. The Jews were more aware of it than any other tribe in the world because they were the first ones to suffer fascism under Pharaoh . The first freedom rider was Moses who came along and the whole Passover Seder and ceremony is devoted entirely to freedom, to a fight for freedom, to how you get out of slavery, so that the Jews being a minority have always known that if there s any other minority being enslaved anywhere in the world that it s their fight. Benjamin Ivry, The Forward" Tunesmith E.Y. Harburg (1896 1981) composed the lyrics for such hits as April in Paris and the Depression-era classic Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? If he had written only one song, however, he d be in the pantheon that ditty, heard in a 1939 movie, was Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz. Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist reminds us of his charms. Dick Donahue, Publishers Weekly" a good portrait of that picturesque leprechaun of a fellow who followed a crock of gold past that paper moon to somewhere over the rainbow. Steven Suskin, Playbill" an excellent introduction to the artist. Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal" The book is far more lively and less politically earnest than its title suggests. In fact, it is downright chatty, being essentially a sort of oral history Alonso crafted out of nearly 50 published and unpublished transcripts of radio and television broadcasts, speeches, roundtables, and conversations in which Harburg participated over the years. James M. Keller, Pasatiempo" In this detailed, entertaining account, Alonso gives life to a courageous man and artist who risked it all for some simple human truth. Publishers Weekly"

Alonso (history, City Coll. of New York; Robert E. Sherwood: The Playwright in Peace and War) offers a biography of E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (1896-1981), an often-neglected but important lyricist of the 1930s and 1940s. Commissioned to knit together large blocks of Harburg's quotes for Wesleyan's "Music: Interview" series, Alonso mines published and unpublished interviews to allow Harburg to speak for himself. The author starts with Harburg's poverty-stricken, immigrant youth, his bootstrapped rise, and his strategic friendship with Ira Gershwin, who introduced him to the Broadway crowd. She continues with his first successes, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" "April in Paris," and "It's Only a Paper Moon" (all written in 1932) and the subsequent scores to Finian's Rainbow and The Wizard of Oz, the latter including the classic "Over the Rainbow" (1939). Throughout, Alonso discusses the liberal sentiments that surfaced in Harburg's lyrics and led to his blacklisting during the McCarthy era, which severely curtailed his output. Verdict Though interesting, this book duplicates much of the material in the excellent Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz? by Harold Meyerson and Harburg's son, Ernie, and will appeal to a limited audience.-David P. Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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