Tradition! -- The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical by Barbara Isenberg, St. Martin's Press '14, $26.99, 240 pages, ASIN #031259142X. Index, bibliography, notes, grouping of b&w glossy images, other b&w images sprinkled through text.
Barbara Isenberg's new book Tradition! marks the 50th anniversary of the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. While a true Broadway success is a play that lasts several years on the Great White Way, Fiddler on the Roof "has rarely not been on the stage somewhere, and that includes schools, army bases and countries from Argentina to Japan."
To mark 50 years in production, the author has gathered some "Fiddler Facts" of note:
*Fiddler won nine Tony Awards: for best musical, for Jerome Robbins' direction, for Robbins choreography, for performances by Zero Mostel and Maria Karnilova, for authors Joseph Stein, Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, for costume designer Patricia Zipprodt, and for producer Harold Prince.
*On July 21, 1971, Fiddler became the longest-running musical and was surpassed only by Grease in 1979.
*Fiddler has been produced in dozens of countries, including Poland, India and Senegal. It has been playing in Japan on and off since 1967, and actor Hisaya Morishige alone played Tevye there more than 900 times.
*The film that critic Pauline Kael once called "the most powerful movie musical ever made" has already been seen by one billion people.
Author Barbara Isenberg has written and lectured about theatre for more than three decades and has written numerous books on the subject. A former staff reporter for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, she has also written for Time, Esquire, The Huffington Post, and London's Sunday Times. She lives in Los Angeles.
A People's History of the French Revolution by Eric Hazan, Verso '14, $29.95, 432 pages, ASIN #1781685894. Index, footnotes, occasional b&w images sprinkled through text..
A brief excerpt from A People's History of the French Revolution, entitled "The Municipal Revolution":
"In three or four days, news of the capture of the Bastille spread across the country and gave a lively impulse to the movements that had been bubbling almost everywhere for several weeks with greater or lesser vigour. During the second half of July, an exceptional fortnight, it was the very scaffolding of the monarchy that collapsed: the centralized administration, the Parlements, the municipalities or 'city bodies,' the collection of taxes, evey the army -- everything disintegrated with amazing speed.
"In the provincial capitals, the majority of the intendants -- representatives of central governments -- abandoned their posts. Everywhere the storm blew away the 'cities,' whose members owed their power to heredity, the purchase of office or direct appointment by the royal authority. they were everywhere replaced by permanent committees, which were in fact new municipalities. These were eigher composed of the electors who had appointed the deputies to the Estates-General, or were themselves elected by general assemblies of citizens. This municipal revolution, a decisive step in the Revolution as a whole, was largely though not invariably peaceful...."
Fractured Times -- Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century by Eric Hobsbawn, The New Press '14, $27.95, 319 pages, ASIN #1595589775. Index, dates and sources of original publication, notes, unillustrated.
From the dust jacket:
"Fractured Times examines the conditions that both created the flowering of the belle epoque and held the seeds of its disintegration: paternalistic capitalism, globalization, and the arrival of a mass consumer society. Passionate but never sentimental, Hobsbawn ranges freely across subjects as diverse as classical music, the fine arts, rock music, and scripture.
"He records the passing of the golden age of the 'free intellectual' and explores the lives of forgotten giants; analyzes the relationship between art and totalitarianism; and dissects phenomena as diverse as surrealism, art nouveau, the emancipation of women, and the myth of the American cowboy.
Author Eric Hobsbawn was born in Alexandria in 1917 and educated in Austria, Germany, and England. He has written 18 previous books, including his memoir Interesting Times. Hobsbawm died in 2012.