Jul. 9, 2000

Recension Day

by Duncan Forbes

Broadcast date: SUNDAY, 9 July 2000

"Recension Day," by Duncan Forbes, from Taking Liberties (Dufour Editions).

On this day in 1942, Anne Frank went into hiding with her parents and sister Margotówho had just been ordered to report to the Dutch Nazi organizationóin the attic above her fatherís Amsterdam office. Soon they were joined by two other adults and their son, then by an elderly dentist.

Itís the birthday of artist David Hockney, born in Bradford, England (1937). He grew up in a working-class Yorkshire family, and studied at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1978 he settled in Los Angeles and started painting a series of California swimming pools, which established his international reputation.

Itís the birthday of poet June Jordan, born in Harlem (1936), author of the collections Look at Me (1969), and Things that I Do in the Dark: Selected Poetry (1977).

Today is the birthday of neurologist Oliver Sacks, born in London to physician parents (1933). In 1966 he came across a group of invalids who had been stricken, between 1917 and 1926, with encephalitis lethargica--"sleeping sickness." When he tried an experimental treatment for Parkinsonís victims--the drug L-Dopa--for a miraculous period his zombie-like patients came to life, after 40 or 50 years of passivity, before lapsing back into their waking "sleep." When Sacks offered his findings to medical journals he was simply not believed. Reaching out to a wider audience, he wrote the book Awakenings (1973), which, 17 years later, with the success of the movie, became a bestseller. He also wrote several books on curious neurological phenomenon, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985).

Itís the birthday of journalist Dorothy Thompson, born in Lancaster, New York (1894), the first journalist to be expelled from Germany by Hitlerís Nazi regime.

Itís the birthday of historian Samuel Elliot Morison, born in Boston (1887)óa Harvard Scholar who recreated, in vivid prose, the nautical adventures of Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus, and Sir Francis Drake, as well as exploits of the U.S. Nave during World War Two. He made numerous voyages himself, sailing the routes taken by Columbus, and, during the war, serving on 12 different ships in the Naval reserve.

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