Kisseloff, Jeff 1955-

views updated

Kisseloff, Jeff 1955-

PERSONAL:

Born 1955; married; children: one daughter.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New Paltz, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Freelance writer, historian. Alger Hiss Story Web site, managing editor.

WRITINGS:

You Must Remember This: An Oral History of Manhattan from the 1890s to World War II, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Baseball's Greatest Hits (interactive media), Voyager (Santa Monica, CA), 1991.

The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920-1961, Viking (New York, NY), 1995.

Who Is Baseball's Greatest Hitter?, Holt (New York, NY), 2000.

Who Is Baseball's Greatest Pitcher?, Cricket Books (Chicago, IL), 2003.

Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s: An Oral History, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2007.

Also maintains a blog at http://jeffisme.wordpress.com.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jeff Kisseloff is a freelance writer whose writing interests cover a wide range of topics, but with a fascination for oral history. He has written about the history of New York City during the period leading from 1890 to World War II, television, and the protests of the 1960s, always conducting numerous interviews and delving into resources that bring his subject to life. In The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920-1961, Kisseloff offers readers a definitive overview of the history of television, witnessed through the eyes of the men and women who helped to create the medium and shape its earliest days. The book includes information gleaned through interviews with such legends of the industry as Don Hewett, of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), who created the television program 60 Minutes and with it an entirely new format of television journalism; Milton Berle, considered one of the most famous and beloved television stars of the first days of broadcast programming; and Red Barber, who was responsible for the broadcasting of major league baseball. Kisseloff also discusses how television shaped the opinions of its viewers on such divergent topics as politics and family values. Michael A. Lipton, in a review for People, remarked that "Kisseloff seamlessly weaves his interviews into a quilt of overlapping and (usually) corroborating perspectives." Yvonne Johnson, writing in the Historian, found: "Among the most powerful chapters in the book is an account of the McCarthyera blacklisting, an era in which writers such as Abe Polonsky were forced to find ‘fronts’ for their scripts."

Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s: An Oral History was years in the writing and very nearly failed to find a publisher. Kisseloff began the book as a history of rock-and-roll music. After a few interviews, he realized that what really fascinated him was the attitude and the activism of many of the early men and women involved in that aspect of the music industry. He was interested in what they chose to say through their music, and other ways in which they protested and stood up for various causes that were making headlines during the 1960s. As a result, he switched his topic and began to interview people on their political views of the times. The subject proved so controversial that Kisseloff actually lost his agent over it, and his next several representatives had a difficult time finding a home for the project. However, it finally landed at the University of Kentucky Press, and the finished volume includes material from interviews with fifteen individuals who were active in protests against various forms of social injustice. A reviewer for the Daily Kos Web site called the book "a study of both the goofiness of the times and the confusion that was present even as it was being lived by those in the forefront of the counterculture. For the most part, these were serious people wrestling with serious issues, and in many cases truly changing the world forever."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Book Report, November 1, 2000, Sallie Barringer, review of Who Is Baseball's Greatest Hitter?, p. 80.

Booklist, November 1, 1995, Donna Seaman, review of The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920-1961, p. 447; May 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Who Is Baseball's Greatest Hitter?, p. 1664; July 1, 2003, John Peters, review of Who Is Baseball's Greatest Pitcher?, p. 1883; October 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s: An Oral History, p. 9.

Chronicle of Higher Education, May 4, 2007, "Revisiting the Protests of the '60s and the Activists Who Led Them."

Historian, fall 1997, Yvonne. Johnson, review of The Box.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Who Is Baseball's Greatest Pitcher?, p. 470.

Library Journal, May 1, 2000, Michael Rogers, review of You Must Remember This: An Oral History of Manhattan from the 1890s to World War II, p. 159.

New Leader, September 18, 1989, Irving Louis Horowitz, review of You Must Remember This, p. 19.

People, January 15, 1996, Michael A. Lipton, review of The Box, p. 29.

Publishers Weekly, April 14, 2003, "America's Game," p. 73.

School Library Journal, July 1, 2000, Harolyn Legg, review of Who Is Baseball's Greatest Hitter?, p. 118; May 1, 2003, Janice C. Hayes, review of Who Is Baseball's Greatest Pitcher?, p. 172.

ONLINE

Daily Kos,http://www.dailykos.com/ (February 4, 2007), review of Generation on Fire.

Enotes,http://www.enotes.com/ (July 25, 2007), review of The Box.

Generation on Fire Web site,http://www.generationonfire.com (July 25, 2007).

New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (July 4, 1989), Richard F. Shepard, "Books of the Times: How It Was to Those Who Were There."