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September 27 , 2009

Boston Boy

Growing up with Jazz and Other Rebellious Passions


Boston Boy is Nat Hentoff's memoir of growing up in the Roxbury section of Boston in the 1930s and 1940s. He grapples with Judaism and anti-Semitism. He develops a passion for outspoken journalism and First Amendment freedom of speech. And he discovers his love of jazz music as he follows, and is befriended by, the great jazz musicians of the day, including Duke Ellington and Lester Young among others.

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A history of free speech in our country from earliest times to some of the controversial court cases of today involving school demonstrations and the right of Nazis to march.

"This memoir of [Hentoff's] youth should be appreciated not only by adults who grew up through the fires of their own youthful rebellion, but by those restless young people who are now bringing their own views and questions to the world they are inheriting. They could learn from this example that rebels can be gentle as well as enraged and compassionate in their commitment."—New York Times Book Review

"Nat Hentoff knows jazz. And it comes alive in this wonderful, touching memoir."—Ken Burns, creator of the PBS series Jazz

"[A] charmingly bittersweet memoir."—Boston Globe

"This is a touching book about a painful, wonderful time in Boston…I loved it."—Anthony Lewis

Nat Hentoff was born in Boston in 1925 and lived there until he moved to New York City at the age of twenty-eight. For many years he has written a weekly column for the Village Voice. His column for the Washington Times is syndicated in 250 newspapers, and he writes regularly about music for the Wall Street Journal. For twenty-five years, he was a staff writer for the New Yorker and for many years was a columnist for the Washington Post. His numerous books cover subjects ranging from jazz music and musicians to civil rights and civil liberties, on which he is a recognized authority. He was jazz critic at Down Beat and has written liner notes for many important jazz recordings. His work has won him honors not only from the music industry, but also from the American Bar Association and the American Library Association.

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