Just Kids from the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was, An Oral History

Arlene Alda. Holt, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-62779-095-6
Alda has compiled a fabulous collection of 65 brief oral histories from a wide range of people who began their lives in the Bronx. The assortment of childhood memories begin as far back as the 1920s, move through the 1940s and 1950s, and end with those born in the late 1980s. Contributors include Carl Reiner, Colin Powell, and—among younger names—dancer Amar Ramasar and Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. While the borough’s underdog status is acknowledged (Odgen Nash’s “The Bronx? No Thonx?” gets quoted), the general tenor is fond and wistful. Mary Higgins Clark sets the tone by dubbing the area one of “only three places in the world that have a the in front of their names: the Vatican, The Hague, and the Bronx.” Stories often recall the mundane: stickball in the streets, trying to get “home before dark,” the unforgettable smell of bakeries and delis. Al Pacino recalls teachers who changed his life, and an urban planner remembers his mother drilling him on the subway system before sending him off alone at age 9. There are few readers who won’t be touched by this affectionate look backward, which is as much about the universal state of childhood as the specific borough of the Bronx. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/24/2014
Release date: 03/03/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-62779-096-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-6236-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4272-6237-0
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