Nat Hentoff

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nat Hentoff (2006)

Nathan Irving "Nat" Hentoff (born June 10, 1925 in Boston , Massachusetts , † January 7, 2017 in Manhattan , New York ) was an American journalist , historian and jazz critic.

Live and act

Hentoff studied at Boston Latin School , Northeastern University (where he received his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude and an honorary doctorate in law in 1985) and Harvard . In 1950 he was a Fulbright scholar at the Sorbonne in Paris .

He was a columnist for The Village Voice , Legal Times , Washington Times , The Progressive , Hustler, and editor of Free Inquiry and Jewish World Review ; He was also a journalist for the New Yorker for 25 years . He has also written for the New York Times , The New Republic , Commonweal , The Atlantic and the Washington Post .

As a jazz critic, he was co-editor of Down Beat 1953–1957 and co-editor of The Jazz Review from 1958–1961 . At Down Beat, he was fired in 1957. As he said in an interview, the reason he hired a colored secretary was officially because he hadn't got the owner's approval. He wrote several jazz books, including the interview band Hear Me Talkin 'to Ya in 1955 with Nat Shapiro . In addition, Hentoff worked as a consultant for the film The Sound of Jazz by Robert Herridge in 1957 . He wrote numerous liner notes on jazz records of various styles and wrote about jazz for the Wall Street Journal in the 1990s . In 1960 he also worked as a producer and musical director of the jazz label Candid Records and produced records a. a. with Benny Bailey , Abbey Lincoln , Charles Mingus , Phil Woods and Cecil Taylor .

Hentoff was known as a free thinker and activist for freedom of speech , against the death penalty and against abortion (“ pro life ”), although he was not afraid to take on the left. For example, he supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (on the grounds that it would eliminate a dictator who was constantly violating human rights), and on the other hand, he strongly criticized the PATRIOT Act of the Bush administration and the associated restrictions on freedom, such as the Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the Clinton Administration's Counter-Terrorism Laws . In recent years he has been a fierce critic of political correctness codes of the American Civil Liberties Union (and the American left in general, for example in his book Free Speech for Me - But Not for Thee ). His opposition to abortion in the 1980s created many enemies, even among his fellow Village Voice colleagues. Here, too, he claimed freedom of speech, but denied religious motives ( I am a jewish atheist, civil-libertarian, pro-lifer ).

Most recently, he was also a member of the advisory committee of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

In addition to jazz books and books on political topics, he also wrote novels and children's books as well as his autobiography Boston Boy - growing up with jazz and other rebellious passions .

In the feature film Sweet and Lowdown by Woody Allen , Hentoff had a brief guest appearance.

In 2009 he retired from Village Voice , where he had been since 1958, and according to his own words, he was rather - surprisingly - "fired". He then became a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute .


He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellow (in Education ) and a 1980 Silver Gavel Prize from the American Bar Association for his coverage of legal and criminal litigation issues . In 2004 he was the first jazz critic to be awarded a NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship .

Works (selection)

  • What the hell is this town going to be? Detective novel. Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbek 1984, ISBN 3-499-42664-1 .
  • Does Anybody Give a Damn? On Education . Random House, 1977, ISBN 0-394-40933-7 .
  • Our Children Are Dying . Viking Press, New York 1966, LCCN  66-023825
  • A Doctor Among Addicts . Rand McNally, New York 1968, LCCN  68-011406
  • Peace Agitator: The Story of A. J Muste . Macmillan, New York 1963, ISBN 0-9608096-0-0 , LCCN  63-015283
  • The New Equality . Viking Press, New York 1964, LCCN  64-020500
  • The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America . Delacorte Press, New York 1980, ISBN 0-440-03850-2 .
  • The Day They Came to Arrest the Book . Delacorte Press, New York, 1982, ISBN 0-440-91814-6 . Puffin, Harmondsworth 1987, ISBN 0-14-032138-1 .
  • The Man from Internal Affairs . Mysterious Press, New York 1985, ISBN 0-89296-141-4 .
  • Boston Boy: Growing Up With Jazz and Other Rebellious Passions . Knopf, New York 1986, ISBN 0-394-40744-X .
  • John Cardinal O'Connor : At the Storm Center of a Changing American Catholic Church . Scribner, New York 1988, ISBN 0-684-18944-5 .
  • Free Speech for Me - But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other . HarperCollins Publishers, New York 1992, ISBN 0-06-019006-X .
  • Listen to the Stories: Nat Hentoff on Jazz and Country Music . HarperCollins, New York 1995, ISBN 0-06-019047-7 .
  • Living the Bill of Rights: How to Be an Authentic American . HarperCollins Publishers, New York 1998, ISBN 0-06-019010-8 .
  • The Nat Hentoff Reader. ISBN 0-306-81084-0 .
  • The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance . Seven Stories Press, New York 2003, ISBN 1-58322-621-4 .
  • The Jazz Life . Dial Press, New York 1961, ISBN 0-306-80088-8 (portraits of jazz musicians)
  • as editor together with Nat Shapiro : Hear me talkin to ya: The story of jazz by the men who made it. Penguin Books, Middlesex, Harmondsworth 1962. (1955 (interviews with jazz musicians).
    German translation: Jazz told . Nymphenburger Verlags-Handlung, Munich 1959, DNB 454676840. Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich, DNB 454676859 )
  • Does This School Have Capital Punishment? Delacorte Press, New York 1981, ISBN 0-440-02051-4 .
  • I'm Really Dragged But Nothing Gets Me Down . Simon & Schuster, New York 1968, LCCN  68-029762
  • Jazz Country . Harper & Row, New York, 1965, 1971.
    German translation: White skin, black blues: A novel from the world of jazz musicians . Arena-Verlag, Würzburg 1971, DNB 456961690
  • This School is Driving Me Crazy: A nNvel . Delacorte Press, New York 1976, ISBN 0-440-08549-4 .
  • with Albert J. McCarthy (Ed.): Jazz; new perspectives on the history of jazz by twelve of the world's foremost jazz critics and scholars . Rinehart, New York 1959, LCCN  59-011788


  • David L. Lewis: The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Notes On The Life of Nat Hentoff. CUNY Journalism Press, 2013 (e-book).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hillel Italie: Columnist Nat Hentoff dies at 91 . AP article on , January 8, 2017, accessed January 8, 2017.
  2. a b Marc Myers: Interview: Nat Hentoff . ( Memento from May 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Hentoff worked as a crime writer; in German is the detective novel What the heck becomes of this city? published 1984 by Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, ISBN 978-3-499-42664-3 , before (original title: Blues For Charlie Darwin , 1982)
  4. " Gavel " is the name of the little hammer with which the judge calls for order.