Terrific May Reads: "The
Triumph of Modernism," "The National Geographic Guide to
Scenic Highways and Byways", "Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from
History and the Arts", and "Einstein: His Life and Universe"
We were fortunate enough to interview Hilton Kramer for
our oral history "It Happened in Manhattan" and include in our book not
only his wise and witty input regarding the art scene of mid-20th
century New York City but his impressions of the larger cultural scene
of that time and place as well. His reminiscences illuminated that
transformative period; at the same time, his ability to stand back and
place events within their cultural context brought particular currents
of the era vividly to life. Now, in "The Triumph of Modernism" (Ivan R.
Dee, $27,50, 384 pages), essays the former art critic of the New York
Times wrote over the past twenty years reveal Kramer's prodigious and
spirited intellect. Far-reaching discussions of modernism from its early
20th century beginnings to its post-modern status comprise both a
history and critique of modern art while grounding artistic phenomena
in the context of their time and place, incorporating political,
economic, and social influences. Highly Recommended.
The third edition of "The National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways
and Byways" (National Geographic, $25, 464 pages) is a testament to the
pleasures of encountering the scenic splendors of America far from the
Interstates and strips studded with fast-food eateries and box stores.
Illustrated with 350 photographs and maps, it is a virtual trip across
the country that is guaranteed to awaken stirrings of wanderlust and
propel even the most reluctant traveler to experience the majestic
wonders and small town delights from behind the wheel of an automobile.
In "Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts"
(Norton, $35.00, 876 pages), the cerebral, provocative, at times
acerbic, and often hysterically funny Clive James presents an
encyclopedia of people who interest him. They are alphabetically
arranged, beginning with the beautiful Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and
ending with the doomed Austrian writer Stefan Zeig. In between are
figures as famous as Sigmund Freud and Duke Ellington, but also some
less well known persons like Ernst Robert Curtious and Georg Cristoph
Lichtenberg. Each is the subject of an essay set in the context of a
century marked by the horrors of fascism and communism. Clive James'
insightful and incisive analysis, his brilliant prose, his breath-taking
knowledge of world events, intellectual themes, artistic developments,
and philosophical undercurrents combine with a powerful humanism in this
extraordinary work by a writer and thinker one would expect no less
from. Highly Recommended.
Walter Isaacson's "Einstein: His Life and Universe" (Simon & Schuster,
$32.00, 675 pages), based on newly released letters of the famed
scientist who not only came up with the formula for the speed of light
but ushered in the notion of "relativity" as a measurement of so many
aspects of life, is highly readable and happily accessible to the
non-scientist. In its seamless combination of the personal and
scientific, the biography evokes Einstein's essential humanity, his
morality and his never-ending sense of wonder.
# # #
About the Authors: Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband
team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional
scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories
It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in
America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in
Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.
They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining
as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United
States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
about these authors.
You can contact the Frommers at:
This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer. All rights