Singular Voices: Conversations with Americans Who Make a Difference

Singular Voices: Conversations with Americans Who Make a Difference

by Barbaralee Diamonstein
     
 

In the probing and insightful conversations published in this book, author Barbaralee Diamonstein celebrates seventeen of our nation's remarkable "Singular Voices" - men and women who have made a significant contribution to American life. This one-of-a-kind collection constitutes vibrant oral history in the making, as it illuminates some of the most interesting…  See more details below

Overview

In the probing and insightful conversations published in this book, author Barbaralee Diamonstein celebrates seventeen of our nation's remarkable "Singular Voices" - men and women who have made a significant contribution to American life. This one-of-a-kind collection constitutes vibrant oral history in the making, as it illuminates some of the most interesting leaders in the fields of politics, literature, science and medicine, human rights, business, education, the performing arts, and architecture. Speaking with unusual candor, they reflect on their professional careers and personal lives, their achievements and their struggles, and the animating sources of their distinction. Coming from a diversity of backgrounds and heritages, many of these individuals have endured adversity at a young age: racial or religious prejudice, economic hardship, or the premature loss of a parent. Yet, through their extraordinary determination, resilience, focus, intelligence, and humor, all overcame those potent obstacles and went on to high accomplishment. While some of those portrayed here are very well-known, others have yet to achieve wider recognition. Included are playwright Edward Albee; astronaut and physician Ellen Baker; former senator Bill Bradley; former president Jimmy Carter; William Conway, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, professor of African-American Studies at Harvard University; writer and gay activist Larry Kramer; Dr. Sherwin Nuland, Yale University medical school professor and author of How We Die; opera diva and arts administrator Beverly Sills; Ruth Simmons, the first African-American president of Smith College; Gloria Steinem, writer, feminist, and founder/editor of Ms.; author William Styron; choreographer Twyla Tharp; architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown; Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel; and James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank. Diamonstein's lively photographs, taken in the course of the convers

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA--Diamonstein conducted interviews from 1995 to 1996 with 17 leaders, pathfinders, and prominent contributors to American life. Her carefully crafted questions elicit answers to such questions as: What and who are the main influences (positive and negative) in your life? Who are your role models? Who are your heroes? What are the obstacles you had to overcome? How do you keep believing in yourself and/or your dream when adversity knocks you down? Authors (Edward Albee, Larry Kramer, William Styron, and Elie Wiesel) and public figures (Jimmy Carter, Bill Bradley, and Gloria Steinem) are among those interviewed, but other names may be unfamiliar to YAs. The conversations are lively and engaging, and the contributors' words inspire, instruct, and occasionally caution. The book is highly recommended for YAs with career or biography assignments, and for journalism students to see how to conduct the exemplary interview.--Judy Sokoll, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Lively, expansive interviews with 17 influential figures, having in common both success and a fierce commitment to a cause or career. Diamonstein, who herself has done much public service in the area of landmark preservation (Buildings Reborn, 1978), notes somewhat sweepingly that she went looking for "men and women who have made substantial contributions to the enhancement of American life." Among those she found are Edward Albee, Bill Bradley, Jimmy Carter, Gloria Steinem, Elie Wiesel, Larry Kramer, Beverly Sills, Twyla Tharp, and astronaut Ellen Baker. Because her subjects are bright, articulate figures, accustomed to talking about themselves, they provide some vivid anecdotes about their lives and the genesis of their careers. However, because most are public figures, there are few revelations, though there are some moving passages, including the recollections of Ruth Simmons, the president of Smith College, of what it was like growing up the daughter of sharecroppers. Generally, though, this is an entertaining, often gossipy, but not particularly original or startling work.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810926981
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/1997
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.12(h) x 0.62(d)

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