cover image The Education of a Yankee: An American Memoir

The Education of a Yankee: An American Memoir

Judson D. Hale, Sr.. HarperCollins Publishers, $17.95 (261pp) ISBN 978-0-06-015752-4

The life and times of an unusual New England family engage the reader wholeheartedly in this memoir. Editor-in-chief of Yankee magazine and Old Farmer's Almanac since 1970, Hale, born in Boston in 1933, recalls his privileged if offbeat heritage. When his older brother Drake, brain-damaged at birth, was sent to the Rudolph Steiner School in Switzerland, his parents were inspired to adopt Steiner's controversial experimental principles of education. Purchasing land in backwoods Maine, the family established a cultural-spiritual center that attracted such artists as the late Friedrich Schorr, then deemed the world's greatest Wotan, whom the author remembers singing the Wagnerian role in the wilderness with other guests from the Metropolitan Opera. Meaty anecdotes abound in the book as Hale comes of age, is a bit wild but finally settles and marries in 1958. That same year, his mother suggests to her brother that he hire this son on ""the little magazine . . . Yankee,'' just founded by the family. It's a wonderful story, especially moving when Hale describes his first, only visit with Drake, who still lives in Basel. Photos not seen by PW. (August 12)