Charles Munch

Biographies

Charles Munch by D. Kern Holoman
To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines by Judith Newman
Eyewitness to History: World War II by Stephen W. Sears
Wicked Muncie by Keith Roysdon, Douglas Walker
Philip Hoare, “Noel Coward: A Biography”

Charles Munch by D. Kern Holoman

A mesmerizing figure in concert, Charles Munch was celebrated for his electrifying public performances. He was a pioneer in many arenas of classical music–establishing Berlioz in the canon, perfecting the orchestral work of Debussy and Ravel, and leading the world to Roussel, Honegger, and Dutilleux. A pivotal figure, his accomplishments put him on a par with Arturo Toscanini and Leonard Bernstein.
In Charles Munch, D. Kern Holoman provides the first full biography of this giant of twentieth-century music, tracing his dramatic survival in occupied Paris, his triumphant arrival at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and his later years, when he was a leading cultural figure in the United States, a man known and admired by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. He turned to conducting only in middle age, after two decades as a violinist and concertmaster, a background which gave him special insight into the relationship between conductor and orchestra. At the podium, his bond with his musicians unleashed something in them and in himself. “A certain magic took wing that amounts to the very essence of music in concert,” the author writes, as if “public performance loosed the facets of character and artistry and poetry otherwise muffled by his timidity and simple disinclination to say much.” In concert, Munch was arresting, even seductive, sweeping his baton in an enormous arch from above his head down to his knee. Yet as Holoman shows, he remained a lonely, even sad figure, a widower with no children, a man who fled admirers and avoided reporters.
With groundbreaking research and sensitive, lyrical writing, Charles Munch penetrates the enigma to capture this elusive musical titan.

To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines by Judith Newman

Writer Judith Newman never had any illusions that her family was ‘normal’. She and her husband keep separate apartments-his filled with twin grand pianos as befits a former opera singer; hers filled with the clutter and chaos of twin adolescent boys conceived late in life. And one of those boys is Gus, her sweet, complicated, autistic 13-year-old.
With refreshing honesty, To Siri With Love chronicles one year in the life of Gus and the family around him – a family with the same crazy ups and downs as any other. And at the heart of the book lies Gus’s passionate friendship with Siri, Apple’s ‘intelligent personal assistant’. Unlike her human counterparts, Siri always has the right answers to Gus’s incessant stream of questions about the intricacies of national rail schedules, or box turtle varieties, and she never runs out of patience. She always makes sure Gus enunciates and even teaches him manners by way of her warm yet polite tone and her programmed insistence on civility.
Equal parts funny and touching, this is a book that will make your heart brim, and then break it. Warm, wise and always honest, Judith Newman shows us a new world where artificial intelligence is beginning to meet emotional intelligence – a world that will shape our children in ways both wonderful and unexpected.

Eyewitness to History: World War II by Stephen W. Sears

All first-person accounts of great events have their own fascination, but the editors of American Heritage have discovered that people writing about World War II seem to tell their own story with particular passion and eloquence. That is one reason American Heritage has published so many of them – and why noted military historian Stephen W. Sears has selected the most compelling.
The result of his search is a uniquely moving and valuable anthology – a series of personal histories that, marshaled together, become an intimate history of the Second World War.
Here is Edward Beach, the highly decorated submarine skipper and author of Run Silent, Run Deep, recalling what it was like to be sent into hostile waters with torpedoes that didn’t work; Charles Cawthon recounts the landing at Normandy Beach in a restrained and poetic narrative whose quiet humor does nothing to blunt the savagery of the experience; General James Gavin tells of the jump into Sicily and of a battle fought that never should have been fought; Hughes Rudd watched the war from overhead in a flimsy spotter plane, his “Maytag Messerschmitt; and William Manchester remembers a particularly audacious and hilarious scam that a reckless Marine buddy played on the entire army.
Some of the stories are heartbreaking, some amusing, some horrifying, but every one of them – whether told by the women who hammered fighter planes together or the men who flew them – glows with hard-won experience.

Wicked Muncie by Keith Roysdon, Douglas Walker

Muncie is the classic small American city. But for much of the past two centuries, the city fell victim to murder, corruption and the bizarre. Mayor Rollin Bunch went to prison for mail fraud, while his police commissioner faced a murder rap.
Viola “Babe” Swartz ran a brothel out of a truck stop that was raided by police at least a dozen times but ran for sheriff in the 1974 primary election. June Holland, of the locally famous Holland triplets, killed her neighbor for refusing to sell her house. Authors Keith Roysdon and Douglas Walker explore the notorious and unusual side of Muncie’s history.

Philip Hoare, “Noel Coward: A Biography”

To several generations, actor, playwright, songwriter, and filmmaker, Noël Coward (1899-1973) was the very personification of wit, glamour, and elegance. His biographer, Philip Hoare, given unprecedented access to the private papers and correspondence of Coward family members, compatriots, and numerous lovers, has produced the definitive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and controversial figures.

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