This book includes 21 stories, a memoir, and a “mostly fact” account drawn from the author’s imagination and rich life experiences that include a childhood in the boroughs of New York City and a career as a journalist/writer of nonfiction and fiction.
The stories show the author’s expertise in the arts—notably jazz and classical music and movies—and interest in sports. The variety of stories also reflects a lifelong concern with civil rights and peace. Only a person widely read, eclectic in experience, and deeply interested in people and their lives could have written them.
Each story has a meaning richer than its plot or its setting. Each one expresses emotions and events that call on readers to respond with their own emotions—laughter, sadness, irony—and/or to apply the plot or story lines to their own experiences and points of view.
The story about the author’s real-life encounter with Woody Guthrie comes from his roots in journalism and interest in music and arts. Readers may find out aspects of the beloved folk singer/writer’s life they did not know. The final memoir recounts the origin of his deeply held commitment to peace.
The author’s books include a primary source on school desegregation, They Closed Their Schools (UNC Press, now available from The Moton Museum, Farmville, Virginia), the story of a deaf child’s quest to secure a sign language interpreter in her classes, A Case About Amy (Temple University Press), and a U.S. Department of Labor monograph, Seven Special Kids.