Stars of Yesteryear

Non-Fiction - Memoir
272 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2024
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Nostalgia: Stars of Yesteryear by Jack L Hawn is a retrospective of some of the many interviews of entertainers, actors, sports stars, and media personalities conducted by the author in a career of covering sports and entertainment at the Los Angeles Times. Many of the interviewees were household names in the first three-quarters of the twentieth century and had, for many people, disappeared from view over the years. What the author discovered is that for most of these aging superstars, their craft, talent, and passion for their field were still very much in their blood and they were frequently still performing into their 60s, 70s, and even 80s, albeit for more intimate audiences and at smaller venues than they would have in their heydays. From Big Band leaders such as Les Brown to famous football heroes such as Joe Namath; from famous multi-award-winning singers such as the Andrews Sisters to television celebrities such as Dinah Shore, and many, many more, Jack Hawn has interviewed them all and captured some of the dynamism and passion of their youth, still displayed in their now golden years. He concludes with a history of his eternal desire to write for television and the difficulties, rejections, and limited results of his efforts.

Nostalgia is a wonderful story of those entertainers who many of us only heard of through our parents’ nostalgic reminiscing. Author Jack L Hawn has had an amazing career that many of us would have envied, given his opportunity to sit down and chat with many of these most influential entertainers (in the broadest sense of the word). To have sat down in the same room as the great Muhammad Ali and the unfancied young upstart to his crown Leon Spinks would be every boxing enthusiast’s dream. What I particularly enjoyed about most of these stories was that they were with celebrities who had known great fame, great wealth, and indeed great power in their heyday but, almost without exception, their humility as well as their love of performing shone through every interview. It was fascinating how so many of the female performers were on the comeback after having sacrificed their former stellar careers for their families. Now, many of them facing an empty nest realized that their passion and desire to perform was still as strong as ever and their name still commanded some respect amongst the general public. I also enjoyed the section on the author’s less-than-glittering career as a screenwriter for television. As an author, I know rejection well and can empathize with Jack when, after sending to his agent or a producer what he thought was an incredible script that must be made into an episode, he received the script back with the standard rejection note attached – devastating! For nostalgia buffs of the Big Band era and the early days of film, radio, and television, this book will make an enthralling read. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend it.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Stars come and go, and I’m not referring to the stars in the sky, though they probably come and go, too. Stars, as in the big names that made history: the politicians, the musicians and artists, and the athletes. Some “big” names made a brief appearance and then faded into oblivion; others lasted on the big-name list for years or faded only to be resurrected at a later date. They all have stories to share and that’s what Jack L Hawn has done in his collection of articles, Nostalgia: Stars of Yesteryear. His writing career spanned decades in the newspaper industry and the articles he wrote are part of the history these “big” names nurtured. From John F. Kennedy to the Andrews Sisters, and many more between and beyond, the stories celebrate a life that once was.

Jack L Hawn’s Nostalgia: Stars of Yesteryear is a fascinating look at the famous celebrities of years gone by. The book consists of fifty articles: stories, interviews, and features that the author wrote mostly covering sports and entertainment, but also including historical features. All these articles were published in the Los Angeles Times where the author worked until 1991. The articles paint a picture of life across the decades of the last half of the twentieth century. Varying in length, they are all written in newspaper, reporting style. At the end are some author’s notes, including a summary of one story he wrote in collaboration, a story that would have suited the TV show, The Twilight Zone. Overall, a fascinating read.

K.C. Finn

Nostalgia: Stars of Yesteryear is a work of non-fiction in the journalism, celebrity history, and memoir subgenres. Penned by author Jack L Hawn, this charming work is a collection of over 50 articles featuring famous celebrities from the past, transposed from newspaper clippings during the author's tenure covering sports and entertainment at the Los Angeles Times until his retirement in 1991. From big-band leaders like Les Brown to significant events such as Muhammad Ali's title loss, the articles range in depth and length, offering readers a glimpse into various facets of American history and pop culture, from World War II to the Rat Pack era. Hawn has curated a narrative of his own life taken through snapshots of celebrity news, and readers will be delightfully guided by the author's firsthand accounts and interviews with iconic figures from decades past.

The book's unique format, comprising articles originally published in newspapers, added an authentic touch to the narrative firmly rooted in the original period, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the total nostalgia of yesteryear. I was fascinated to learn more about the big names we all know and love, but there were also profiles of people I’d never heard of before that expanded my knowledge of the entertainment landscape of the era even further. Jack L Hawn's personal reflections and anecdotes enriched the narrative with more context around the articles and their purpose, but also because we see so much of his personality in the work as a result. As someone who appreciates both history and storytelling, delving into the lives and legacies of these stars from the past was both enlightening and enjoyable. Overall, I would certainly recommend Nostalgia: Stars of Yesteryear as a work of history and memoir that delivers everything it promises.