Saturday, August 17, 2013

My New Orleans, Gone Away

Idgie Says:
I'm not familiar with Peter Wolf's work, most of it appears to be non-fiction regarding land abuse and use in America, but was interested in reading about a childhood in the New Orleans of days gone by.  There is a nice essence in this memoir of the time period and how lives were lived from the 1940s to now.  This book is a fine peek into time, place and not being a Baptist in the New Orleans.

Additionally, Peter does not live in New Orleans his entire life and you not only hear his story, but the novel also contains some nice descriptive passages regarding other parts of the world.

A fine book if you have an interest in New Orleans of times past.

My New Orleans, Gone Away
Author: Peter M. Wolf
Publisher: Delphinium Books
Distributed by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 2013
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9781883285562

Book Description:
From a Jewish boyhood in pre-Civil Rights New Orleans, to his Yale friendship with Calvin Trillin, to his calling as an architectural historian, Peter M. Wolf presents an intimate and nostalgic life story in MY NEW ORLEANS, GONE AWAY: A Memoir of Loss and Renewal (Delphinium Books; July 2013; $24.95).  Wolf’s memoir, with a foreword by Trillin, casts a seductive spell of Southern charm as he travels back to the NOLA he knew before Hurricane Katrina washed it all away.

Growing up in a sixth-generation Jewish family in New Orleans was unlike growing up Jewish anywhere else. A bucolic childhood playing beneath the hanging moss and fishing “across the lake” with his grandfather at Pass Christian, Mississippi obscured the contradictions of Wolf’s life. His family celebrated Christmas, but also founded the city’s leading Reform temple; his parents wanted to ensure propriety, but spent their evenings drinking and gambling; his relatives never spoke of money, but were founders of the leading department store and largest sugar plantation; and he was closer to his housekeeper than his parents.

Blissfully unaware, Peter was reveling in his sultry days at the local day school as class president and tennis champion when his father shipped him deep into chilly Yankee territory to attend Exeter and prepare him for Yale. There, among the well-bred sons of the elite he learned what he needed to know to survive in the Ivy League. As his father predicted, Yale was easy after Exeter and he quickly made three particularly close friends—Henry Geldzahler, Gerald Jonas, and a kid from Kansas City full of snappy patter named Bud, or as he came to be  known professionally, Calvin Trillin.
Wolf’s  evocative journey through the formative years of the 20th century are vividly captured in MY NEW ORLEANS as he recalls his transition from a singular Southern boyhood in the Crescent City to a young man striving for professional independence and self-knowledge. It is an elegy to decades and generations of family turmoil and social change, loss and personal rediscovery.
Peter M. Wolf is a sixth-generation member of a New Orleans family that has been long integral to that city’s culture and commerce. After Yale, Wolf earned a Ph.D. in the history of art and architecture from New York University. Dr. Wolf is a nationally recognized land planning, urban policy and asset management authority. He is the founder of the Thomas Moran Trust; Chairman of the Godchaux-Reserve Plantation Fund; and a trustee in East Hampton of Guild Hall and The Village Preservation Society. His research and writing have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Ford Foundation; the American Federation of Arts: and a Fulbright Fellowship.