A MAN AND HIS MEDIUM/ ALAN HENRY WITH GORDON HASTINGS

I must explain first that I proudly worked closely with Alan Henry in writing this memoir. It was an inspiration to learn his life story and help define his lasting impact on the broadcasting industry. This is not simply a book about broadcasting. It is much more than that because it speaks of a time when young people with a passion could find supportive and helping hands to launch their career.

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The broadcasting industry is approaching the 100th anniversary of the birth of America’s first commercial radio station, KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. KDKA signed on the air on November 20, 1920.

Emerging through the haze of broadcasting history come the names of individuals that transformed the emerging new technologies of radio and television into broadcast programming that attracted hundreds of millions of listeners and viewers.

Entertainment programming came to the new radio medium inherited from the vaudeville stage. Long form dramatic shows followed including scripted programs like Lux Radio Theater and comedies that included Amos and Andy and Burns and Allen. There were westerns Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and dozens of crime shows including the FBI in Peace and War, The Shadow and Mr. and Mrs. North. It was radio’s Golden Age.

When television exploded in American homes during the 1950s radio needed to reinvent itself by creating new and appealing programs and approaches to position itself for the future. Many stations adopted a Rock & Roll music format while others took a more adventurous, riskier and innovative approach and created what later became All News and Talk Radio.

This is the untold story of Alan Henry, a young boy left on a relative’s doorstep at an early age whom through self reliance, grit and imagination grew to be among America’s most successful radio and television broadcast entrepreneurs, innovators and executives.

Alan Henry took high risks to help create programming that is today universal across all media. Over the decades these formats have launched thousands of individual careers in radio, television, cable television and the Internet.

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Alan Henry’s legacy has left an indelible mark on how Americans use the broadcast media in the 21st century. The book is available now at amazon.com and can be obtained through your local bookstore.

 

ALAN HENRY/ A MAN AND HIS MEDIUM/COMING SOON

Coming soon at Amazon.com the untold story of how Talk Radio, All News Radio and Talk Television developed from its early beginnings. Who first said, ” Go gargle with razor blades?”  Find out in A Man and His Medium.

 

51545108_High Resolution Front Cover_6425892The broadcasting industry is approaching the hundredth anniversary of the birth of America’s first commercial radio station, KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. KDKA signed on the air on November 20, 1920.Emerging through the haze of broadcasting history come the names of individuals who transformed the developing technologies of radio and television into broadcast programming that attracted hundreds of millions of listeners and viewers.

Entertainment programming inherited from the vaudeville stage came to the new radio medium. Long-form dramatic shows followed, including scripted programs like Lux Radio Theater and comedies that included Amos and Andy and Burns and Allen. There were westerns, such as Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger, and Roy Rogers, and dozens of crime shows, including the FBI in Peace and War, The Shadow, and Mr. and Mrs. North. It was radio’s Golden Age.

When television exploded in American homes during the 1950s, radio needed to reinvent itself by creating new, appealing programs and approaches in order to position itself for the future. Many stations adopted a rock ’n’ roll music format. Others took a more adventurous, riskier, and more innovative approach and created what later became All News and Talk Radio.

This is the untold story of Alan Henry, a young boy left on a relative’s doorstep at an early age, who, through self-reliance, grit, and imagination, grew to be among America’s most successful radio- and television-broadcast entrepreneurs, innovators, and executives. Alan Henry took high risks to help create programming that is today universal across all media. Over the decades, these formats have launched thousands of individual careers in radio, on television, on cable television, and on the Internet.

Alan Henry’s legacy has left an indelible mark on how Americans use the broadcast media in the twenty-first century.

 

A MOVEABLE FEAST-THE RESTORED EDITION

The original A Moveable Feast, among Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved works, was originally published posthumously  in 1964. The Memoir is of the author’s life in Paris as a struggling writer, newlywed and young father between 1920 and 1926.

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 A Moveable Feast The Restored Edition with a forward by Hemingway’s only living son Patrick Hemingway and edited by his grandson Sean Hemingway presents the original A Moveable Feast manuscript exactly as Hemingway intended. A major difference is the exclusion from The Restored Edition of the influence that Hemingway’s fourth wife Mary had upon the original publication in 1964.

Of great significance from this reading is Hemingway’s agony over his leaving Hadley for Pauline.

” Any blame in that was mine to take and posses and understand. The only one, Hadley, who had no possible blame, ever, came well out of it finally and married a much finer man than I ever was or could hope to be and is happy and deserves it and that was one good and lasting thing that came from that year.”

Whether or not you have read the original I commend to you A Moveable Feast The Restored Edition. It it wonderful to be in Paris with Ernest and Hadley, to be young, carefree, tasting the food, wine and life itself.

” Lets walk down the rue d Seine and look in all the galleries and in the windows of the shops. We can stop at a new cafe where we don’t know anyone and nobody knows us and have a drink. We can have two drinks. We’ll come home and eat here and have a lovely meal and drink and afterwards we’ll read and go to bed and make love.”

Writing, wonderful writing, every word framing a picture, painting or memory. There is never enough Hemingway. The Restored Edition is worth the time. Do it again, or for the first time!

 

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE-THE BOOK-A DOCUMENT OF HISTORIC PROPORTION

It is astonishing to this reader that Solomon Northrop’s narrative TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE lay silent in literary archives for over 100 years. Each compelling paragraph cries out to be voiced and has not lost one syllable over the decades, as indicted in the book’s dedication to Harriet Beecher Stowe whose Uncle Tom’s Cabin is throughout the world, identified with the reform of slavery.

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I have seen the Oscar-winning motion picture but if you have not I urge you to read the book first. No film could begin to capture the depth and emotion evoked in the 336 pages of this personal narrative. By reading the book, the movie will become enormously more meaningful because it fills in all of the subtleties that could not possibly be accomplished by directors and editors.

“The institution that tolerates such wrong and inhumanity as I have witnessed, is a cruel,unjust and barbarous one.  Men may write fictions portraying lowly life but let them toil with him in the field, sleep with him in the cabin, feed with him on husks; let them behold him scourged, hunted, trampled on, and they will come back with another  story in their mouths. ”   Northrup’s narrative describes how the ” institution ” passed from father to son. ” Mounted on his pony the 12-year-old child  rides into the field with his whip playing the overseer , greatly to the father’s delight.  Without discrimination he applies the rawhide, urging the slaves forward with shouts, while the old man laughs and commends him as a thorough-going boy.’

Solomon Northrup , in his own words: ” This is no fiction, no exaggeration.  If I have failed in anything, it has been in presenting to  the reader too prominently the bright side of the picture.Those who read this book may form their own opinions of this peculiar institution.”

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, the book and the movie combine to make a powerful testament to one of the darkest periods in American history.

THIS BOY’S LIFE/ ANOTHER GLASS CASTLE

When I read Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle I believed that I had read the ultimate survival story of an adolescent growing up in a completely dysfunctional family.  Survival is the word that continues to come to mind when reflecting on Walls’ wonderful book that since its publication in 2005, continues to be a best seller. See gordonsgoodreads.com

That preamble leads me to the discovery in my library of a volume which must have been left over from one of my children’s required reading lists, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life.

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First published in 1989, this memoir is another detailed account of a youngster’s struggle to survive under the most bazaar family circumstances. Toby’s mother, just like Jeannette Walls’, is a nomad, seeking a better life and fortune , always where the grass may be greener.  Unlike Walls’ , Toby’s mother leaves his father and moves from man to man finally ending up in rural Washington living with a despicable and violent drunk.  Each chapter will make the reader into a believer of the survival tactics that children adopt to conquer  insurmountable obstacles.

If this memoir has escaped your reading list, don’t delay. After you  have read the book you may wish to Netflix the highly acclaimed 1993 movie This Boy’s Life starring a very young Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. 

Tobias’ brother Geoffrey who stayed his father in Connecticut, had a very different upbringing from Toby ( Choate/Princeton). He is an important character in This Boy’s Life . He also became an author having written among other novels Duke of Deception in 1979 and The Age of Consent in 1995.

This Boy’s Life ends with Toby leaving ,or better said in the context of the memoir, escaping for the war in Vietnam.  His experiences are detailed in his second memoir Pharaoh’s Army, Memoirs of the Lost War.

Older Titles Appear On Times Best Seller Print and Electronic List

You may notice in the Sunday New York Times Book Section that there are two important new categories of Best Sellers, Fiction Print and Electronic and Non-Fiction Print and Electronic.

According to the Times, the new rankings reflect weekly sales for books sold in both print and electronic formats as reported by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles. The sales venues for print books include independent book retailers; national, regional and local chains; online and multimedia entertainment retailers; university, gift, supermarket and discount department stores; and newsstands. E-book rankings reflect sales from leading online vendors of e-books in a variety of popular e-reader formats.

Popping off the page of Non Fiction Print and Electronic, this Sunday, February 20, 2011, ranked at number 11, is the 2005 memoir The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls!  This is a new world of reporting who is reading what and when.  It is the essence of Gordon’s Good Reads’ philosophy that people like to discover wonderful books that they may have overlooked.

If you have not read The Glass Castle, first published in 2005, I urge you to do so. You will find this memoir of survival in a very dysfunctional family astonishing and nearly unbelievable.

A suggestion. Why not read Walls’ second book about her family first? Half Broke Horses, published in 2009, a true-life novel, is the story of Walls’ no nonsense and resourceful grandmother Lilly Casey Smith. By doing, so you will learn from who Jeannette Walls received her grit, allowing her to survive The Glass Castle. It is every bit as captivating. and wonderfully written.

Enjoy!