Langer, Howard J. 1929-
Langer, Howard J. 1929-
Born July 5, 1929, in New York, NY; son of Morton (an accountant) and Ruth Langer; married Florence Goldblum (a social worker), September 12, 1954; children: Patricia, Nanci Langer Warren. Education: Brooklyn College (now of the city University of New York), B.A., 1950; Columbia University, M.S., 1952. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Playing bridge, lecturing.
Home—New City, NY.
Sunday Herald, Bridgeport, CT, reporter; National Citizens Commission for the Public Schools, member of editorial staff for Better Schools; Scholastic Magazines, member of editorial staff for Scholastic Teacher; Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, senior social science editor; Facts on File, New York, NY, marketing director; Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, marketing director; National Council for the Social Studies, publications director; Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, publications director; freelance writer and editor, 1992—.
Citation for "outstanding reference book," Library Journal, 1996, for American Indian Quotations.
The American Revolution, Civic Education Service (Washington, DC), 1966.
Who Puts the Print on the Page?, Random House (New York, NY), 1976.
Directory of Speakers, Oryx (Phoenix, AZ), 1981.
American Indian Quotations, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1996.
The History of the Holocaust: A Chronology of Quotations, Jason Aronson (Northvale, NJ), 1997.
World War II: An Encyclopedia of Quotations, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1999.
The World War II 100: A Ranking of the Hundred Most Influential Figures of the Second World War, Career Press (Franklin Lakes, NJ), 2002.
America in Quotations: A Kaleidoscopic View of American History, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2002.
The Vietnam War: An Encyclopedia of Quotations, Greenwood Press (Westport CT), 2005.
Howard J. Langer once told CA: "I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. As a child, I wrote poetry and short stories, which appeared in school publications. The mass medium of the time was radio, and I was fascinated by the voices that came over the loud-speaker. President Franklin Roosevelt spoke to me, explaining why it was necessary to win the war in Europe first, or asking me to join him in prayer on D-Day. This interest in the quoted word gave me the impetus to conduct interviews, and I did so both in print and on recordings. Smithsonian/Folkways recordings feature my interviews with such personalities as Eleanor Roosevelt, Justice William O. Douglas, Norman Thomas, Al Capp, Sir Edmund Hillary, and others.
"Today I am doing my research the old-fashioned way— by book, rather than the Internet. I use the word processor on a computer, which is an IBM clone. I make use of the local libraries and extensive use of inter-library loan. I prefer to do my own indexing, because I am more familiar than anyone else regarding cross-reference possibilities. My wife, Florence, is indispensable in every phase of my work.
"A favorite of mine is the book of World War II quotations. It was a time I lived through from the age of ten (when Hitler invaded Poland) to the age of sixteen (when Japan surrendered). The war was a part of everyday life. In those days, we were the good guys, and they were the bad guys—and we never doubted for a moment that we would win. But during the research, I realize how close it was. The book features many quotations which did not become public until long after the war.
"My other interests include bridge. I am a firm believer in what Groucho Marx called ‘the Chico convention’ (if you like what your partner is bidding, you smile and nod your head). I also give talks to local organizations about the subjects of my books."
Later Langer commented: "The World War II 100: A Ranking of the Hundred Most Influential Figures of the Second World War ranks the key figures of three wars going on simultaneously: the war in Europe, the war in the Pacific, and Hitler's war against the Jews. It is designed to elicit controversy, though I will not yield on my top eight: Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Marshall, Yamamoto, Eisenhower, and MacArthur. America in Quotations: A Kaleidoscopic View of American History goes back to quotes passed along by American Indians in the oral tradition, long before Columbus. It ends with the events immediately following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
"I believe the book on Vietnam is the best thing I have ever done. In addition to quotes by the participants on all sides of the war, it contains some eyebrow-raising documents on such events as the feasibility study to invade North Vietnam commissioned by the Eisenhower administration, the missing French prisoners of war following Dienbienphu, Nixon's threat to withdraw all aid to South Vietnam if it did not agree to the Kissinger-Le Duc Tho cease-fire agreement, and Nixon's reference to American-backed reconstruction programs for North Vietnam. There are also such features as a chronology of Vietnamese history from earliest days, biographical sketches of those quoted, and a complete list of every member of the military and naval forces awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Vietnam conflict."