Yip Harburg by Harriet Hyman Alonso
Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist (Music/Interview)

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Known as “Broadway’s social conscience,” E. Y. Harburg (1896–1981) wrote the lyrics to the standards, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?,” “April in Paris,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow.” Harburg always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism, poverty, and war. Interweaving close to fifty interviews (most of them previously unpublished), over forty lyrics, and a number of Harburg’s poems, Harriet Hyman Alonso enables Harburg to talk about his life and work. He tells of his early childhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, his public school education, how the Great Depression opened the way to writing lyrics, and his work on Broadway and Hollywood, including his blacklisting during the McCarthy era. Finally, but most importantly, Harburg shares his commitment to human rights and the ways it affected his writing and his career path. Includes an appendix with Harburg’s key musicals, songs, and films.

About Harriet Hyman Alonso

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HARRIET HYMAN ALONSO teaches history at The City College of New York and is the author of the award-winning Growing Up Abolitionist: The Story of the Garrison Children and Robert E. Sherwood: The Playwright in Peace and War. For more information on YIP HARBURG, visit the website of the Yip Harburg Foundation, www.yipharburg.com.
Published December 3, 2012 by Wesleyan. 332 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Yip Harburg

Publishers Weekly

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Yip creatively used the Depression years of the 1930s through the postwar era of the 1950s to fuel some of his popular hits such as Bing Crosby’s “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?,” Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” Doris Day’s “April in Paris,” and Frank Sinatra’s “Last Nigh...

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyrici...

The Wall Street Journal

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Joseph Epstein reviews "Yip Harburg, Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights
Activist" by Harriet Hyman Alonso.

| Read Full Review of Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyrici...

The Wall Street Journal

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"Yip" Harburg, who wrote the lyrics for some of the great songs of the musical theater and Hollywood, is less well known because his name is not connected with a single composer.

Dec 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyrici...


The debacle of Jamaica, a show that became successful only after it was taken away from him, is summed up in seven pages of angry interview quotes (“I felt so brokenhearted about it, I never went back to see it”), and the fear and paranoia of the blacklist era is memorably conveyed in a 1950 lett...

Jan 11 2013 | Read Full Review of Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyrici...

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