Faculty Book: Harriet Hyman Alonso
Harriet Hyman Alonso
Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist
(Wesleyan University Press, 2012)
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. Interweaving close to fifty interviews (most of them previously unpublished), more than forty lyrics, and a number of Harburg’s poems, Alonso brings us Harburg’s tales of his early childhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, how the Great Depression opened the way to writing lyrics, and his work on Broadway and in Hollywood, including his blacklisting during the McCarthy era. Through the stories Harburg shares his commitment to human rights and the ways that commitment affected his writing and his career path. Harriet Hyman Alonso serves as professor of history at the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: NOV 27, 2012