Voices of Brookline

by Larry Ruttman

Praise for the Book

“Many, many thanks for the copy of Voices of Brookline....I only wish Jack could have read it too!”

Senator Edward M. Kennedy

“[Ruttman has] done a wonderful job at bringing a community to life, through the voices of its citizens—a fascinating array of people whose personalities and characters shine through. What is so appealing about the book is the warmth of spirit, the good-humor, all conveying a feeling of community that is very encouraging.... Congratulations on a fine job of oral history. Oh, yes, the photos are a special treat.”

“[This] book is a model of how an oral history of a town ought to be written.”

Howard Zinn,
Professor Emeritus, Boston University;
author of A People’s History of the United States

Voices of Brookline is truly fascinating and deserves everyone’s applause. It is vibrant, dynamic, compelling and important. It is the voice of the best in America as heard, lived, and cherished in an amazing and beautiful village. It is a story of a precious community where friendships and love will continue to prevail.”

Robert F. Drinan, S.J.,
former congressman representing Brookline;
Dean Emeritus, Boston College Law School;
author of Can God and Caesar Coexist?

“There is a lesson here for all of us: inasmuch as we care for one another and involve ourselves in the civic affairs of our community so we improve our own lives. Brookline may not be a microcosm of America but it ought to be. Reading Ruttman’s stories is a tonic for all of us who care about our towns and our neighbors.”

William M. Fowler, Jr., Director,
Massachusetts Historical Society;
author of Empires at War

“Larry Ruttman has given printed voice to Brookline’s diverse and eloquent citizenry.… Writers, politicians, Holocaust survivors, activists, friends and neighbors—here are proud citizens who value the place, the politics, and the pattern of giving back. From ballplayers to businesspeople, the voices of this neighborly yet urbane place harmonize to make Brookline come to life.”

Jane Holtz Kay, preservationist;
author of Lost Boston and Asphalt Nation;
Brookline native

Voices of Brookline is an important and instructive book. Buttressed by solid historical research, the book asks us to consider the immense value of grass roots democracy manifested in the town meeting....It asks the reader to ponder the value of multiracial and multicultural solidarity in the face of an increasingly divided and fragmented society. It makes a plea for liberal values in the broad sense of appreciating our common humanity, of treasuring history, of recognizing the vast benefits of investing in education, and encouraging activism. At every turn, Voices is fortified by firm, appropriate scholarship. It is indeed worthy of any awards that may be bestowed upon it.”

Mark Solomon, Professor of History, Emeritus, Simmons College

Copyright © 2005, 2006 by Lawrence A. Ruttman. All rights reserved.

“Thanks for sharing the book with me. Brookline has a special quality that I think you conveyed very well. The method of doing it not simply by asserting it, but in a very non-didactic way by presenting this wide range of pepole who embody that character works very well. I’ve been reading it and in some ways it’s like getting a chance to spend time with some old friends whom I hadn’t seen for a while. Thanks!”

Congressman Barney Frank

“A wonderful book and cause for celebration. Larry Ruttman and his fellow citizens should be proud. What he has done as a local historian is quite remarkable. He portrays both a vibrant community and the singular people and achievements that make it what it is today.”

Justin Kaplan,
Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner;
editor, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

“A heartfelt thank you to Larry Ruttman for vividly capturing and sharing these personal stories about the citizens and history of our special town.”

Chobee Hoy, past president of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce; realtor, volunteer, citizen

“As a resident of Brookline for thirty-five years I am profoundly grateful for the portrait of my community that Voices of Brookline offers. Mr. Ruttman has explained in great detail how the contemporary landscape of one of America’s oldest towns took its shape. He has taken the time to ask the questions that murmur in the back of our minds as we go about our daily business. How did that tailor find his way from Greece to Coolidge Corner? How did that violinist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra escape the police of Vichy France, and how does he look on the town that became the vessel of his life in a new world? The bank managers, crime writers, concert promoters, teachers and lawyers that Ruttman portrays can now see how their stories fit into the broader narrative of the community. All readers of Voices of Brookline can appreciate the riches to be found in one small town.”

John Silber,
President Emeritus, Boston University

“Brookline’s sense of community has been even further enhanced by this wonderful publication....I believe every present and future citizen of Brookline will benefit from and enjoy reading Voices of Brookline, deriving from it a better and deeper understanding of the history of this diverse and remarkable community, and its significant place in Massachusetts and America.”

Richard J. Kelliher
Town Administrator, Town of Brookline

“The town of Brookline is small enough for its citizens to feel an intimate affection for it but too large for its citizens to know one another much beyond their distinctive neighborhoods. It was a generous inspiration on Larry Ruttman’s part to devote a continuing television program to introducing a selection of seventy of its inhabitants to the rest of their community. To have these encounters collected together in a book is a further genuine service to the sense of our community. It is fun and fascinating to have the means to imagine concretely the simultaneity of the various lives and interests of neighbors and strangers so often intersecting one another and equally often passing each other by—in my case containing the pleasure of encountering my wife among the town’s representatives—creating the unending interest in the familiarities and obscurities of an American town that borders a great and famous city. That Brookline is the native town of Cathleen’s and my two sons makes me all the more grateful to possess these, in effect, self-portraits of a range of its human treasures.”

Sanley Cavell
Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, Emeritus
Harvard University