Author Archives: gordon

MURDER IN THE DMZ (POLITICO/9-14-17)

On August 19, 1976, the day after the Republican Party nominated President Gerald Ford as its candidate in the forthcoming presidential election against Democrat Jimmy Carter, readers of the New York Times were greeted by the following harrowing front page headline: 2 AMERICANS SLAIN BY NORTH KOREANS IN CLASH AT DMZ According to the Times, […]

WHEN NAZIS ‘INVADED’ NEW YORK (POLITICO/8-23-17)

Anxious to find precedents for the frightening and ultimately deadly alt-right, “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, some media outlets have likened the images of the recent mayhem in Virginia, with the chilling ones of the German-American Bund rally that filled Madison Square Garden on February 20, 1939 with 22,000 hate-spewing American Nazis. That rally, […]

FINLAND RETHINKS THE CAR

For years environmentalists and urban planners have been fantasizing about low to no-car city living, in order to make their municipalities easier and safer places to live, while also cutting reducing their carbon footprint. However although the mayors of a number of cities, such as Paris, Athens, and Mexico City and others have committed their […]

‘I LOVED YOUR BOOK!’ (100 Day War)

Seven years after its publication in Finland, where it was the second best selling non-fiction book for six months, four years after it was published in the U.S., The Battle of Finland (or the Hundred Day Winter War, as it was called here) continues to throw off sparks of different sorts, including fine reviews to […]

STRATCOM BLUES (Politico 3/16/17)

RIGA, LATVIA. For an institution that is supposed to be a think tank, the sullen-looking, three floor headquarters of StratCom, the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, with its deep-set windows, piked gates and guardhouse, more closely resembles a fortress. So it’s not surprising to learn that in its previous life, when the Republic of […]

THE LAST LENIN MUSEUM (Monitor 1/18/17)

TAMPERE, FINLAND. Tampere, Finland’s second largest city, is known as the birthplace of the Soviet Union. That’s because that is where the two architects of the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, then on the run from czarist authorities, met in 1905 at the city’s Workers’ Hall. The venerable hall used to be known […]

JFK’s FORGOTTEN CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

(POLITICO/ 5/29/17) At his press conference on March 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy was asked by a reporter about the “confluence of strong forces,” including the conservative-dominated Congress and the United States Air Force, that were attempting to force him to revive the cancelled B-70 supersonic bomber project. Kennedy was visibly uncomfortable with the […]

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

Yes, that’s me and Robert Redford taking a stroll in the wilds of southwest Idaho, after I tracked the Sundance Kid down and right after the elusive star agreed to grant me a longer audience when both of us returned to New York. And boy did he have a story to tell. Maybe you remember […]

INTRODUCING LOREAL PRYSTAJ

Every once in a while I make a special discovery which I am keen to share with my friend and the larger GFS community. Sometimes it is a book or a film which I can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes it is a new city you must see. Once in a great while it’s an artist […]

A ‘TALE OF 2 COUNTRIES’ REVISITED (CSMonitor 9/9/16)

Seventeen years ago (yikes!) I wrote a long story about one of the most fascinating stories in the Baltic region, one that I had followed since the fall of the Baltic Curtain in 1991: the rapprochement of Finland and Estonia. You can find that piece elsewhere on this site. This summer, during my most recent tour […]

PIRATES RISING IN ICELAND (CSM 9/27/16)

AS HISTORIC ELECTION APPROACHES, THE PIRATE PARTY PREPARES TO ENTER GOVERNMEN By Gordon F. Sander Special to The Christian Science Monitor ICELANDERS are talking about two volcanoes these days—a real one named Katla, and a metaphorical one also known as Althingi, or parliament, each of which has been rumbling ominously. The difference between the two, […]

THE ‘WINTER WAR’ MARCHES ON

Six years after it was first published in Finland under the title Taistelu Suomesta (The Battle of Finland), three years after the publication of the U.S. edition, my ode to the Talvisota, as the Finns call the 1939-40 Winter War, now increasingly accepted as the standard one volume book of this neglected episode of World […]

DORRIT SANDER: IN MEMORIAM

AS many of you know, my beloved mother, Dorrit, passed away on June 15, 2014. Two years later, she remains an abiding presence in my life. Here is why: Although my mother and I had always been reasonably close, except for my college years when she basically gave me up for lost (not that one […]

THE GREENING OF ICELAND

(CS Monitor 12/30/15) SPRENGISANDUR is an ancient unpaved road veering across the rugged, volcano-strewn central highlands of Iceland. Twelve centuries ago, the 125 mile-long windswept pass, whose name derives from sprengya, the Icelandic verb for riding a horse to its death, was one of the routes by which Icelanders made the long trek to Althing, […]

LITHUANIA’S SUICIDE EPIDEMIC

(CS Monitor 11/30/15) VILNIUS– 21st century Lithuania has a number of distinctions of which its three million people are proud. It was the first of the former Soviet socialist republics to break its shackles to the Kremlin, declaring its independence in March, 1990. It “grows” basketball players: Lithuania is home to no less than ten […]

PRAISE FOR THE HUNDRED DAY WINTER WAR

PRAISE FOR THE HUNDRED DAY WINTER WAR By Gordon F. Sander FROM THE U.S. The Journal of Military History “The Winter War, ‘Talvisota’ in Finnish, is an icon in Finland’s nation identity. Certainly the elements of a Finnish Thermopylae are there: a democracy of some three million people refuses the territorial demands of a major […]

HOW I FELL IN LOVE WITH LATVIA (TRUE STORY)

This past June I visited Riga, the capital of Latvia, once known as the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, as part of a series of articles about what’s happening in the Baltic/Nordic region for The Christian Science Monitor, where I am a correspondent (see my dispatches from Latvia and Sweden below). Something else happened while I […]

IS LATVIA THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING COUNTRY?

(CS Monitor 7/9/15) On May 4th, Latvians celebrated the 25th anniversary of the restoration of independence, with a large number of events in Riga and elsewhere around the former Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic, including the traditional Armed Forces Parade in Jelgava, where President Andris Berzins gave a forceful speech. The main theme of the president’s […]

JESSE BRAVERMAN HITS IT OUT OF THE PARK!

QUESTION: what do Frank Viola, Orel Hershier, Lee Mazilli and Jesse Braverman have in common: they are all members of the just nominated class of 2015 of the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame! That’s right. That’s the same Jesse Braverman, my friend and schoolyard idol, with whom I am writing his soon to […]

ROD SERLING LIVES!

‘And also like all men perhaps there will be an occasion—maybe a summer night sometime—when he will look up and hear the distant sound of a calliope, and hear the voices and laughter of the past. And perhaps across his mind there’ll flit an errant wish, that a man might not have to grow old, […]

PUTIN PUTS THE SCARE ON SWEDEN!

(CS Monitor 7/2/15) STOCKHOLM. “The Swedish armed forces are too small to defend their own territory,” says Lt. Colonel Johan Wiktorin (ret.), a leading Swedish security consultant and fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Military Sciences. Wiktorin would seem to be stating the obvious: with an active front-line military personnel of 20,000 to cover […]

IN MEMORIAM DORRIT SANDER (1920 – 2014)

As some of you may know, my darling mother died on June 15th from complications of a stroke at the age of 93 and a half.  My mother was everything to me: my best friend, my principal sponsor, my best editor, my favorite conversation mate, my lodestar, my pilot light. Although my mother and I […]

THINKING ABOUT GUSTAF

I have been thinking a lot about Gustaf Mannerheim of late.  For one thing the 75th anniversary of the Winter War is approaching.  For another, I just spent nearly four months in Helsinki bicycling by the Marshal’s equestrian statue, still resolutely standing guard at the entrance to the Helsinki peninsula, in front of Kiasma, the […]

FINLAND AND NATO

(CSMonitor 10/15)  Are the Soviets—pardon, the Russians—planning on invading Finland again?  Probably not. However, the numerous recent overflights of Finnish air space by Vladimir and his aggressive air force, combined with his annexation of Crimea and the other Ukrainian craziness, are making a lot of Finns nervous.  Nervous enough to rethink their dyed-in-the-wool opposition to […]

STAFF SHOUT OUT

Time for another Sander Media staff shout out.. Contrary to earlier reports (including one in this space), Phoebe Hering, the latest of the long Big Red line of Cornellians who have helped kept me going on this side of the Atlantic over the years , has decided to re-up for another term. Praise be and […]

FROM THE ARCHIVES: TEA WITH JADE JAGGER

Long ago and far away—actually thirteen years ago, to be exact—I liaised with jet-setting jewelry designer Jade Jagger for tea at Claridge’s in London for The New York Times.  Here was the amusing squib which resulted from that historic encounter.

DISPATCH FROM ESTONIA

CSMonitor (4/3/14) In late March, as the Kremlin was consolidating its annexation of Crimea, I journeyed to Narva, in northeastern Estonia, for The Christian Science Monitor to inquire as to how the industrial city of 65,000’s predominantly Russian-speaking inhabitants felt about Russia’s shock invasion, and whether they would be amenable to a similar move from […]

ABOUT THE HUNDRED DAY WINTER WAR

“Finland, superb, nay sublime in the jaws of peril,” an awestruck Winston Churchill declared over BBC in January, 1940, in the midst of the so-called Winter War, “Finland shows what free men can do!” To be sure, if World War II has a “forgotten campaign,” it is the epic, improbable war-within-a-war that pitted tiny Finland […]

PHOEBE H’S SWAN SONG

As you know, one of my greatest sources of pride and joy are the students who work for me every year, a.k.a. my “munchkins.” One of the ‘requirements’ of the
job is that my assistants write an essay for me at the end of their employ in which they describe what they have learned from this […]

THE FRANK FAMILY THAT SURVIVES

In September, 2001, I had the unique privilege of broadcasting “The Frank Family That Survived,” my two part radio documentary about my mother’s family’s experiences in hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland—which paralleled those of their less fortunate German compatriots, the family of Anne Frank—over BBC Radio 4, from Broadcast House in London, in the very same […]

Kallio (New York Times 3/31/13)

“There was a time when Kallio, a working-class district north of central Helsinki and somewhat akin to the old, grittier iteration of the Bowery in Manhattan, was considered off-limits to visitors. But today, those who venture across the Siltasaarensalmi strait, which divides Kallio from the rest of the Finnish capital will find a sizzling sector […]

Archives: In Search of Redford (’82)

From the original draft of my profile of Robert Redford for Omni Magazine (April ’82) “So, you came to hear the Sundance Kid?” chirped the wife of the hospitable native I had met on the flight from Spokane as we sped away from the Pullman, Washington (population 18,000) airport into the soundless, star-sprinkled Big Sky […]

Stand by…for THE HUNDRED DAY WINTER WAR!

“Finland, superb, nay sublime in the jaws of peril,” an awestruck Winston Churchill declared over BBC in January, 1940, in the midst of the so-called Winter War, “Finland shows what free men can do!” To be sure, if World War II has a “forgotten campaign,” it is the epic, improbable war-within-a-war that pitted tiny Finland […]

REVISITING THE MAD MAN OF TV: SERLING!

Submitted for your perusal. In case you haven’t heard, Serling: The Rise and Twilight of Television’s Last Angry Man, my first Pulitzer-nominated book and ode to Requiem for a Heavyweight, The Twilight Zone, and all things Serlingesque, was recently reissued by the Cornell University Press. With a lapidary foreword by tv historian Ron Simon, who […]

Kallio (New York Times 3/31/13)

“There was a time when Kallio, a working-class district north of central Helsinki and somewhat akin to the old, grittier iteration of the Bowery in Manhattan, was considered off-limits to visitors. But today, those who venture across the Siltasaarensalmi strait, which divides Kallio from the rest of the Finnish capital will find a sizzling sector […]

JESSE BALL: The Cadets’ Last Game

From Hudson Valley Magazine (August, 2008) On the evening of Saturday, June 7, 2008, a crowd of over 4,000 upstate baseball die-hards filled Troy’s Bruno Stadium to watch the Section II Class AA championship game between the LaSalle Cadets and the Columbia Blue Devils. The resulting nail-biter didn’t end until 12:22 the next morning, when […]

ARCH: HANGING WITH THE SUNDANCE KID

“So, you came to hear the Sundance Kid?” chirped the wife of the hospitable native I had met on the flight from Spokane as we sped away from the Pullman, Washington (population 18,000) airport into the soundless, star-sprinkled Big Sky night. “I heard he didn’t show.” Those aren’t precisely the first words an exhausted Redford-hunter […]

Archives: Jesse Ball (’08)

From Hudson Valley Magazine (August, 2008) On the evening of Saturday, June 7, 2008, a crowd of over 4,000 upstate baseball die-hards filled Troy’s Bruno Stadium to watch the Section II Class AA championship game between the LaSalle Cadets and the Columbia Blue Devils. The resulting nail-biter didn’t end until 12:22 the next morning, when […]

THE FRANK FAMILY THAT SURVIVED Lives On

In September, 2001, I had the unique privilege of broadcasting “The Frank Family That Survived,” my two part radio documentary about my mother’s family’s experiences in hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland—which paralleled those of their less fortunate German compatriots, the family of Anne Frank—over BBC Radio 4, from Broadcast House in London, in the very same […]

Finnish Design (Blue Wings 4/13)

THE SECOND GOLDEN AGE OF FINNISH DESIGN Revered design objects have given way to design thinking. By Gordon F. Sander Future cultural historians will no doubt look back at the mid-2010s as the time when Finns went gaga about design in all its forms and permutations. Other observers have already spoken about this period as […]

Off the Map: My Finnish Affair

What are you doing here? my Finnish friends have been asking me ever since I began regularly visiting Finland in the early 1990s, when Suomi was still very much off the world’s cultural map. So, why are you always flying to Finland? my American friends have been asking me for nearly as long. Really want […]

Viva Las Vegas (Image, 2000)

Bright lights city Going to sing your song Sing your song Viva Las Vegas! Viva Viva Viva Las Vegas! –chorus from the late 1965 Las Vegas-based Hollywood film, “Viva Las Vegas!” WHAMM! BOOM! “Excuse me, driver, is that a jackrabbit we just hit? (No response) WHOOSH! Every morning, between two and three A.M., a small, […]

JESSE BALL: The Cadets’ Last Game

From Hudson Valley Magazine (August, 2008) On the evening of Saturday, June 7, 2008, a crowd of over 4,000 upstate baseball die-hards filled Troy’s Bruno Stadium to watch the Section II Class AA championship game between the LaSalle Cadets and the Columbia Blue Devils. The resulting nail-biter didn’t end until 12:22 the next morning, when […]

Excerpt from the Serling Lecture

Conducted Fall 2011 at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Architecture, Art, and Planning:

The Battle of Finland has Arrived in Estonia!

Tere hommikust! I am very pleased to announce the publication of Lahing Soome pärast 1939-1940, the Estonian edition of The Battle of Finland, my best-selling history of the Winter War by Estonia’s best-known publisher, Varrak. Given my relationship with Estonia, and my many friends there, this is a particularly proud moment for me. With a […]

ARCH: HANGING WITH THE SUNDANCE KID

“So, you came to hear the Sundance Kid?” chirped the wife of the hospitable native I had met on the flight from Spokane as we sped away from the Pullman, Washington (population 18,000) airport into the soundless, star-sprinkled Big Sky night. “I heard he didn’t show.” Those aren’t precisely the first words an exhausted Redford-hunter […]

Diving into Budapest (Blue Wings, 10/2011)

DIVING INTO THE EIGHTH. “Up and coming? The Eighth?” Up until a few years ago, the average Budapester would have described this raffish, pie-shaped district on the eastern side of the bifurcated Hungarian capital as anything but. Now, thanks to an infusion of imagination and investment, and a healthy dose of Hungarian coffee, the eighth, […]

OFF THE MAP Chapter 2: “The Summit and the City”

“Have you heard, “ Gunnar, my amiable guide and contact person from the Aland Tourist Board asked me, as he was driving me to the very deluxe—and very isolated—house in the district of Bjorko, in the center of the main island of the archipelago which he had found for me, “Your President Bush and Mr. […]

JESSE BALL Prologue: “The Game”

A moment to remember from a coach’s life… Time: a few minutes before one in the morning. Date: June 12, 2008. Place: Joe Bruno Stadium, just outside of Troy, New York. The game: The New York State sectional championship game between the Cadets of La Salle Institute, a Catholic military school located near Troy, in […]

THE BATTLE OF FINLAND Chapter 1: “A Wild Day”

RUSSIANS START THEIR INVASION OF FINLAND PLANES DROP BOMBS ON AIRFIELD AT HELSINKI WAR STARTS AS U.S. MOVE FOR PEACE IS MADE —The New York Times, November 30th, 1939 I remember everything quite clearly. My memories are so clear they still torture me sometimes. When it’s cold and snowy, I can picture myself in those […]

THE BATTLE OF FINLAND Chapter 9, “Tears in Helsinki”

March 13, 1940 “It was the darkest day in our history, I think.” —Harry Matso1 IF THE FIRST DAY of the Winter War was for Finns the longest day of the 105 day conflict, the last day was easily the second. If anything, peace, when it came, in the form of Vaino Tanner’s radio speech […]

Hanging Out 2011: A Retrospective

by Scott Reu, cosmic adjunct to Gordon Sander. 10pm: Almost twenty Hangers file into the TV Room at Risley for the first event of the night, a Twilight Zone-a-thon. Gordon pitches us his book about Rod Serling. DVD technology fails us for the last time, and as a result we are only able to watch […]

WELCOME BACK!

Ithaca, New York May 30, 2011: Dearest friends, colleagues, fans and assorted cyber-hangers on. Welcome back to the Sander Zone! Two and a half long years after a mysterious virus penetrated our inner perimeter causing this site to go black, or half black, the Sander Zone is back in operation, and hooray for that! A […]

BREAKING NEWS!

BREAKING NEWS! SERLING—THE BOOK—IS BACK IN RERUNS! Hi Zonies, media history freaks and Sander literary faithful. Hearken! Your prayers have been answered! This summer, some nineteen years (actually eighteen years and ten months for those of you who are counting) after it was first published, after the Zonesque odyssey described below, SERLING: THE RISE AND […]

Chapter 1: The Candy Store

For the better part of the first eighteen years of my life, my life revolved around a series of two small candy stores in Queens, New York. It was there that I learned about the value of hard work and the importance of family, and the fundamentals of business, including the Darwinian nature of the […]

Chapter 2: A Coach Named Joe

”Let me paint the scene. South Jamaica, 50 or 60 years ago. Middle class. Poor. Immigrants. The principal influence was the family and the church or the synagogue. No one had an automobile or a TV. In that environment picture a guy who was born in Queens. He had been a semi-professional [baseball] player. He […]

Chapter 3: The Breakdown

CREEDMOOR. Any kid growing up in Queens in the 1960s knew the word. Creedmoor meant crazy, insane. Kids used to joke about it, as in “That guy belongs in Creedmoor.” Or, “Man, you belong in Creedmoor.” Creedmoor, of course, refers to the one hundred year old psychiatric hospital located in Queens Village, whose main structure […]

Budapest’s Top Five Cafes (4/11)

Blue Wings, April 2011 Gerbeaud. Founded in 1870 by renowned Henrik Kugler, this Budapest institution, which anchors pedestrianized Vörösmarty tér, has been a fulcrum of the Hungarian’s life ever since. Admire the lustrous interior and glittering chandeliers while sipping a cherry cognac, a Gerbeaud invention. Or seat yourself at one of the umbrella-shaded tables outside […]

Diving into District Eight: Exploring Budapest’s most happening neighborhood

Blue Wings, Scheduled October 2011 A group of elderly pensioners exchanging gossip in the venerable garden of the Hungarian National Museum, while some well-fed starlings bemusedly look on from the branches of the hundred year old linden trees. The fragrant smell of freshly baked palacsinta wafting from an ancient pastry shop. A mass of whooping […]

Summerscape: Newport ’68

Special to The New York Times I was three weeks into my demanding duties as boating and canoeing counselor at Treasure Island Day Camp in Oceanside, New York—a job which essentially involved preventing the clusters of pre-teen oarsmen who banged around Treasure Island’s tiny “lake” from floating out into Long Island Sound–when I asked my […]

What the Finnish Press Says about The Battle of Finland

“Sander’s outstanding book, The Battle of Finland, differentiates from [the many] works on this subject in numerous ways… His work combines brilliant writing, faithfully rendered by Arto Häilä’s excellent translation, with a rock sold factual foundation… The book successfully weaves together the broad outlines of world history and the situation in Finland, so that the […]

Estonia Lost and Found: The Rebirth of a Community (Or: Mazel Tov Estonia!) (2/09)

Special to In Time, ca. February 2009 …Because of her remarkably rapid economic recovery and the prevailing low cost of living, Estonia has been called ‘the Golden Corner of Europe.’ But by whatever fair name this beautiful little country may be called on account of her economic position, it can certainly be said that her […]

Helsinki: A City of Foodies (12/07)

From the Daily Telegraph, ca. December 2007 There has been a sea change in Finnish culture over the past decade, as what used to be a private, introspective, essentially conservative country locked in its own dimension somewhere between East and West, has morphed into a far more cosmopolitan, European place where people are not averse […]

Estonia Lost and Found: Kolga, a living museum of Estonian history (5/08)

Special to In Time, ca. May 2008 If any of the thousand odd manors scattered across the Estonian countryside can be said to incarnate the country’s history, from the relatively benign period of Swedish rule right down to the blight and neglect of the Soviet one, it is Kolga, the somewhat bedraggled, but still impressive […]

Grenoble: France’s Alpine Gem (9/08)

From the Fin Times, September 2008 General (why Grenoble?) Why Grenoble? Because…of its literally out-of-the-world locale as the gateway to the French Alps …because it combines the coziness of a small town with the buzz of a big city…because of its tempting selection of four star hotels, chateaux, and top restaurants to choose from…because of […]

The Tides They Were A-Changing: Fire Island During The Sixties

Fire Island in the 60s “HAPPENING HAPPENING TONIGHT…Tom Potocki and Gary Winters, artists about Fire Island, blow their artistic minds and invite others islanders to do the same when they stage their Fire Island happening, ‘Plastic Grass,’ at the Seaview recreation area on the bay tonight, starting at 6 p.m. Potacki and Winters have gone […]

Letter from Ithaca: A Year End Review of Sorts

Table of contents: I. The year horizontally: the view from the Temple of Zeus, Goldwin Smith Hall II. Extracts from my two books-in-progress, Coach, and What Free Men Can Do: The Untold Story of the Winter War III. My expanding world: notes from my first forays to the French Alps and Northwestern Russia IV. The […]

College at 60 (Change 6/77)

Any time after the arrival of the first grandchild, the individual may avail himself of the license of age and withdraw himself from the social obligations he has thus far shouldered with a will–The time has come for the individual to begin his true adult education– — from a description of Hindu culture in “Religions […]

A STREETCAR NAMED SISU

REPORT TO MY INVESTORS, No. 11 (May 1, 2008) I. Introduction–My just-completed, epic California-cum-Baltic odyssey–Things to come: Back-to-back photo shows on both sides of the Atlantic–Plus! My surprise “nomination” to Wikipedia’s list of Cornell University’s most notable alumni. II. Napkin Notes: “A Streetcar Named Sisu,” or: Looking back at the alternately gratifying, eye-opening (and, on […]

The Story of A Complex, Conflictive Man (Review, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1/17/93)

Spanning sites such as Binghamton, Cincinnati and Los Angeles, Rod Serling’s life makes a very American story. And Gordon Sander responds to it with vitality and wit. He provides a pocket history of Binghamton in southeast New York’s Broome County, where Serling was born and grew up and which he revisited symbolically many times In […]

Frank and Free (Jewish Chronicle [UK] 9/2/04)

Nine days after Anne Frank’s family went into hiding — or, as it was called in those times, “dived under” — my mother Dorrit, together with her parents, Myrtil and Flort Frank, and her sister Sybil, spent the first of 1,022 days concealed at Number 14 Pieter van de Zandestraat, a small, side-street flat in […]

Ellis Larkins review (Wisdom's Child 4/76)

Listening to Ellis Larkins, the celebrated jazz pianist now performing at Tangerine, is like being on a luxury cruise bound for nowhere. You may not know where you’re going, but you certainly have fun getting there. So does Larkins. This former protege of Count Basie and Duke Ellington–whose music apparently remains his major source of […]

Man of Rare Dimension (Front page review, Philadelphia Inquirer 2/2/93)

By Carlin Romano *** You are traveling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead. Your next stop? THE WORLD OF 1950s TELEVISION. The man seated before you is Rodman Edward Serling, […]

Chapter 10: Entering the Zone (1959)

“ROD SERLING, one of television’s most famous playwrights, brings you an extraordinary dramatic series, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, defined by the author as “The land that lies between science and superstition, between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. You will find the bizarre, but the believable; the different, the shocking that […]

Chapter 1: Binghamton (1924-35)

And also like all men perhaps there’ll be an occasion — maybe a summer night sometime — when he’ll look up from what he’s doing and listen to the distant music of a calliope, and hear the voices and the laughter of his past. And perhaps across his mind there’ll flit a little errant wish, […]

Epos

Coming Soon!

FLYING DOWN TO RIO

“Welcome to Rio de Janeiro! The organizers of the XIII Rio de Janeiro International Book Fair are honored with your participation in the Cultural Program: -Discussion Forum, September 15th, 7 p.m. Topic: ‘Love, Religion and War.’ We hope you have an excellent stay and thank you in advance for your presence at Latin America’s largest […]

The Family Man Betrayed for Diving Under (Financial Times Weekend 7/27/02)

An absorbing biography of Anne Frank’s father does not settle the question of who told the Nazis. “In a certain way it way it was a happy time,” Otto Frank wrote in an unpublished postwar memoir that Carol Ann Lee includes in her absorbing new biography of the father of Anne Frank. “I think of […]

LETTER FROM ITHACA

(September 11, 2007) Greetings friends and welcome again to the Sander Zone! Apologies for the long silence on this end — for better or worse, I am not a blogger. There are already, in my humble and inestimable opinion, far too many cyber-popinjays out there foisting themselves on the jaded cyber-public, and I don’t wish […]

LETTER FROM ITHACA

April 25, 2007 Yowza! Yowza! Yowza! For those of you cinephiles who recall the unforgettable “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” starring Peter Falk and Jason Robards, Jr. (arguably the best B-picture ever made), you may also recall that’s how the laxon-voiced radio announcer in the movie led off his program– Yowza! Yowza! Yowza! Ah yes, those […]

My Private Scandinavia, or: As Usual, Don Stayed Behind (GQ ’93)

This is the original unabridged draft of an article I wrote for GQ Magazine about a trip I made to Helsinki and Stockholm with my friend Don Davis in the spring of 1993. Originally entitled “My Private Scandinavia,” this offbeat account of Don and my’s rakehill progress across Scandinavia way, and I still believe is […]

LETTER FROM ITHACA

June 2, 2006 Hello, sports fans! I see that five months have passed since my last posting here. Well, I don’t want to do overdo things. As proud as I am of my work and of this site, I don’t want to be one of those cyber-popinjays who insists on telling you EVERYTHING that’s going […]

Riga

From How to Spend It magazine, June 2002 Riga-Once one of Europe’s most sophisticated cities, the Latvian capital has now regained its allure as the Pearl of the Baltic. Gordon F. Sander strolls among the world’s largest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture. Seventy years ago, while most of Europe was mired in economic and political […]

LETTER FROM ITHACA

January 30, 2006 Hello, Mr. and Mrs. America — and, as the late Walter Winchell used to kick off his radio broadcasts, before dishing the latest gossip — all the ships at sea! (To which I would add Mr. and Mrs. Europe, too! After all, a goodly number of my friends, acolytes, listeners, readers, etc., […]

UPDATE FROM ITHACA

December 15, 2005 Well, I’m back!

DISPATCH FROM SANDER'S

June 9th, 2005 Have you ever heard of the movie “Dispatch from Reuters”? Starring Edward G. Robinson, the cigar-chomping Capone figure of “Little Cesar,” the 1936 (I think) flick was about the founding of the famed Reuters news service. Consider the following your personal dispatch from Sander’s. (No, this is not a blog. How I […]

Where the Pack Goes to Be Polite (The New York Times 8/92)

The music’s loud, and so’s the chat: a place to see, to be seen and to be well-behaved. Despite such treats as lojromsgravad stromming med vaasterbottensost and pyttipanna med stekt agg och odbetor, even the management concedes that the food is only an incidental attraction at the Café Opera, Stockholm’s most infamous café-bistro-nightclub. “We’re quite […]

LETTER FROM ITHACA

March 12th, 2005 It Gets Cold Here! It has been a long winter here in the Finger Lakes region, and a cold one. One of the dimensions of living here, which I evidently forgot during the nearly three decades that lapsed between the time I originally left Ithaca and Cornell and my return, two years […]

Serling – Binghamton

And also like all men perhaps there’ll be an occasion — and maybe a ssummer night sometime — when he’ll look up from what he’s doing and listen to the distant music of calliope, and hear the voices and the laughter of the past. And perhaps across his mind there’ll flit a little errant wish, […]

LETTER FROM ITHACA

December 10, 2004 Hello again. This letter to the Sander faithful around the world is intended to make up for my unconscionable and prolonged silence. Sorry, but to use perhaps the most overused, and essentially meaningless words in the English language, I have been–busy. The same four deadening words that people use as their excuse […]

Reviews and Comments

NEW YORK Anyone who has thrilled to the story of Anne Frank will want to read this book about the Frank family that survived. The tensions roused by the gripping narrative reflect the complexities of war, history, and fate. – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Pulitzer prize-winning historian author of “A Thousand Days” Like Anne Frank’s […]

The Frank Family That Survived: The BBC Radio Documentary

From BBC Radio 4, September 2001 In July 1942, two Dutch Jewish families, both called Frank, entered into hiding from the Nazis, one in Amsterdam, the other in The Hague. In “The Frank Family That Survived,” broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this week, the grandson of that ‘other’ Frank family describes their life behind closed […]

BBC Interview

BBC Breakfast TV – 7 September 2004 Watch the interview of Gordon and Dorrit Sander on BBC Breakfast.

Postscript: Journey's End

Special for the Prometheus edition of “The Frank Family That Survived.” The long odyssey behind this book — my odyssey — did not end with the publication of the first edition of this book in summer 2004. Nor could it really end until I had visited two places that I had “hitherto visited in my […]

Chapter 6: Submerging

“To the decree of 30 June 1942 D III 516 g with references to my teletype messages — No. 250 of 17 July 1942–” Subject: Deportation of Jews –The deportation of the Dutch Jews has proceeded undisturbed. Today’s train brings the total of Dutch Jews deported up to 6,000. The deportation [has] proceeded without any […]

Chapter 2: Ultra-Dada Days

“A terrorist revolution under the leadership of Dr. Liebknicht, the Radical Socialist, will break out Friday evening, according to reports. Liebknicht, the reports say, has 15,000 men well-armed. The population of Berlin is at the mercy of gangs of marauders, and there appears to be no authority there.” – December 5, 1918, The New York […]

Introduction by John Keegan

The story of The Frank Family That Survived is as arresting as that of the Frank family — Anne Frank’s family — that did not. With this difference: it is a story of triumphant overcoming of circumstances rather than tragic submission to them. There are so many tragedies associated with the Second World War and […]

AMSTERDAM, OR: ON THE ROAD, DAY 65

October 5, 2004 Greetings from Amsterdam! To say that there is a lot happening in the Sander Zone this fall is to understate the case. 1) THE BOOK, or: Author! Author! As some of you will have heard by now, I have published my most recent book, “The Frank Family That Survived.” Inspired by the […]

Welcome Message

Welcome to The Sander Zone, the official Web site for Gordon F. Sander: writer, essayist, historian, photographer, educator (and regular guy). Whether you’re an editor, a friend, or just a plain old fan of our hero, you’ll find everything you need to know — or certainly a good working introduction — to Sander’s multifaceted works […]

Book

In 1997, weary of the old routine of sending out clips in order to get more magazine work — as well as explaining how I was also a fairly creative and original photographer, and, if necessary, could shimmy as well as my sister Kate! — I came up with the idea of self-publishing a coffee […]

Delivering the Goods

Stay tuned!

No. 23: The End (Sort Of)

And so Harold and Ann fell completely, madly, happily, thrillingly in love. In all, they were together for four years — or, technically, three years, six months, four days, two hours, eight minutes and change. That winter, the winter of 1970, Harold basically moved into Ann’s room in Laker Tower. The following fall, they found […]

No. 22: Rothman in Love

One day in December, Selma Rothman opened her mail and found a post card, of a kind, from Harold. The message was written out in mock-telegraphese: “MOM AND DAD: IT HAPPENED! / STOP / I AM IN LOVE STOP / IT’S REALLY AMAZING / STOP / MORE DETAILS FOLLOW / STOP/ WOOF WOOF / YOUR […]

No. 21: Spawn on the Lawn

And so it came to pass that Harold Rothman, having served his term in limbo and having successfully persuaded the college fathers that he was fit to take the academic waters and no longer posed a danger to himself or his peers, was permitted to rematriculate at Plymouth University. And so that September, Harold found […]

No. 20: Going Up the Country

The ad for the Tanglewood Rock Festival that Harold Rothman came across one afternoon as he was taking his usual lunch break in Bryant Park looked tempting. After four months of working the microfilm beat at the 42nd Street branch of the New York Public Library, it was time to get away again. Sure, the […]

No. 19: Return of the Nowhere Man

“He’s a real nowhere man, Sitting in his nowhere land, Making all his nowhere plans For nobody…” – “Nowhere Man,” The Beatles And so Harold Rothman ’72 spent his first months on enforced leave from Plymouth University. If he had felt like the Nowhere Man before, all those endless nights cooped up in his garret-like […]

No. 18: Exile on Main Street

In the last installment of C-Town Blues: After coming down from a near fatal “death trip” in his drab C-Town apartment, Harold Rothman ’72, belatedly paying the price of the 0.0 cum he had racked up the prior term, receives a letter from the Kafkaesque Committee on Academic Records suspending him from Plymouth for one […]

No. 17: Persona Non Grata

It took a little while for it to sink in, this idea that he was, like, dead, but the more Rothman thought about it, the more it made sense. Outwardly, there was nothing different about the apartment to signify that this was It — heaven, hell, or wherever he was. The radio was still playing […]

No. 16: Epiphany, Early Morning, Collegetown

Not that Harold Rothman didn’t do anything useful or creative the term he spent living — if it could be called that — at 405 College Avenue. For example, there was The Chart, the index Harold devised one smoky afternoon in November shortly after his father’s visit, for the building’s dozen occupants, friends and hangers-on […]

No. 15: Of Hand Grenades and Hyper-Bull Sessions

“So, what are those guys up to?” Sam Rothman asked his son, Harold, motioning in the direction of the four hairy creatures seated around a table on the far side of the long hall of the second floor apartment at 405 College Avenue, a.k.a. Freak Hotel. “Oh, those guys?” Harold said, shrugging and raising his […]

No. 14: What Goes Up Must Come Down

As they say, that which goes up must come down, and so Harold Rothman Plymouth ’72 was due to come down after the cosmic summer he spent at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area working as a photojournalist: shooting mountain sheep and white-blonde B.C. chicks with polka-dot bikinis and everything in between by day; gigging […]

No. 13: Running Toward the Sun

July 21, 1969. The day astronaut Neil Armstrong was scheduled to plant the Stars the Stripes on that little pock-marked white thing up there. You know: the Moon, baby. “Moon Day,” people were calling it. “A day of national participation,” quoth President Richard Nixon, happy to divert the country’s attention away from the war to […]

Letter to a Cornell Professor Explaining Radically Overdue Paper (Unpublished 1970)

Dear Professor Anderson: I have not kept to my final promise of punctuality. Indeed, I have no doubt that you have already submitted a Failing grade to the University Registrar in return for my mischievous performance. If, however, you retain any capacity whatsoever to sympathize, you will hasten to grant this enclosure at least cursory […]

No. 12: Coming Into the Canyon

Fortunately, Harold Rothman’s apprehensions about both Boulder City and his job as an assistant naturalist at the vast Lake Mead National Recreation Area were soon put to rest. “You’re from the East, aren’t you?” the waitress at the Highway Cafe asked in a preternaturally cheery voice — to Harold’s New York ears, anyway — showing […]

No. 11: No Speed Limit, or The Ultimate Summer Job

It was difficult for Harold Rothman to make out the triangular sign by the side of Lakeshore Road, particularly at the subsonic speeds that Iron Cross, the B.C.-based “desert rock” band for which Harold played harp, liked to attain as they zoomed into Vegas for, say, Led Zeppelin at the Ice Palace, as they all […]

No. 10: A Night to Remember

“You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand, You see somebody naked and you say, ‘Who is this man?’ You know something is happening but you don’t know what it is, Do you, Mr. Jones?” – Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man” Roger Wilcox, one of the leaders of Plymouth SDS, […]

No. 9: Spring Offensive

Spring came to Plymouth University, as it often does in the upper subarctic regions of New York State, like a Bangalore torpedo surreptitiously placed under the collective consciousness by God. I. PRELUDE WITH SUNSET One day it was Helsinki cold, wet, dumbfoundingly miserable, as it had been the day before that, and the month before […]

No. 8: Dead Squirrels Tell No Lies

This is the story of Harold Rothman’s first trip. “How ya doing, Rothman?” his boisterous neighbor Preczenski asked. Harold, perplexed, sitting on the edge of his dormitory bed, said nothing. Preczenski laughed. He had come to expect the unexpected from the Long Island longhair. Fortunately, he was in a suffer-fools-gladly sort of mood. “How ya […]

No. 7: Intermission, or Where Is This Thing Going?

Hello again. Many of you have been asking questions about “C-Town Blues,” either via email or sudden campus encounters, like the one I had the other day, in which a student accosted me while I was crossing the Arts quad, and asked, in a voice bespeaking of wonderment and undergraduate angst, “Where is this thing […]

No. 6: When He Began Thinking Otherwise

All this — that Plymouth was seemingly being run by dogs, not to mention going to the dogs, along with the country itself (as a steadily increasing number of faculty believed) — all this ambient craziness wouldn’t have affected Harold Rothman as much if he hadn’t already been going through some pretty heavy changes himself. […]

No. 5: Epiphany with Irish Setter

“I entered the university expecting the Ivy Tower on the Hill, a place where committed scholars would search for truth. Instead I found a huge corporation that made money from real estate and government research contracts, where teachers cared only for the advancement in their narrow areas of study, and worst of all, an institution […]

No. 4: Strange Days

“He wears Brooks Brothers shirts with button down collars, Tweedy jackets costing many dollars, silk rep ties with diagonal striping, flannel blazers with ornamental piping. Why? Because he’s Ivy…” – “The Natural Superiority of an Ivy League Man,” published in the 1966 Plymouthian “Then John Kennedy was shot in Dallas and wherever we were, in […]

No. 3: Election Night, 1968

Harold opened his eyes and slowly readjusted to the cinderblock-and-linoleum box that was his room. The smudgy November sun was already setting — or was it rising? It was late — or was it early? Hard to tell when you’re an Architect. Rothman had been toiling all night in the basement of Cleveland Hall, atop […]

No. 2: Baptism

“Other highlights of orientation will be introductory academic lectures and symposia, a Saturday night concert with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and throughout the entire weekend, the Class of 1972′s all-important first look at itself.” –The Plymouth Daily Clarion, September 11, 1968 Harold turned off the stereo and ran for the door. The perennially silly, […]

No. 1: Prologue, February 12, 1971

Date: Feb. 12, 1971 Time: 5:36 p.m. Place: The Bench (Slope) “I hate you,” Ann O’Connor ’74 said to her boyfriend, Harold Rothman ’72, who was sitting nearby, half-guilt-stricken, half-dumbstruck at his latest academic predicament. Here he was, just returned from his first suspension from Plymouth, and now he was in trouble again? Moreover, this […]

Where Is the Cornell Heart? (Cornell Alumni News 5/73)

It was an odd year. Ironically it seems more noteworthy for what didn’t happen than what did. No buildings were taken over, no faculty or administration members taken hostage; no windows smashed. Campus activists were conspicuous by their absence. There were no major disruptions — nor even minor ones, for that matter. By way of […]

Stopping Out (Cornell Alumni News 6/74)

Stopping Out — or dropping out or busting out — whatever they call it, more students are doing it. *** “If our records are correct, your work for the past term appears to be unsatisfactory. Unless an error in your grades is brought to our attention, your total record will be scrutinized by the Committee […]

Ithaca's Greeks Feel 'Betrayed' Over Cyprus (Ithaca New Times 9/1/74)

At about this time every year, certain of the more liberal members of Ithaca’s Greek-American community hold a combined dance/banquet at the chapter house of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The proceeds go to benefit local Democratic candidates. This year’s banquet, held in honor of Congressional candidate Matt McHugh and Mayor Ed Conley, who has […]

Eisenhower College: From Riches to Rags — and Back? (Change 10/1/75)

On the cold, gray mornings of April 29, 1974, the 10 officers and trustees of Eisenhower College, Seneca Falls, New York, met for what they suspected might be the last time. No minutes were read; none were recorded. For the board of trustees — as well as the rest of this isolated upstate campus community […]

10 Available Jobs You Never Knew Existed and How to Train For Them (Wisdom's Child 4/76)

Are you embarrassed when people ask you what you do for a living? Are you bored with your present line of work? Are you still in school, unsure about what you want to do with the rest of your life? If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, read on. Below you’ll find […]

In Art, a Modern Trend to Old Ways (The New York Times 4/25/76)

Michelangelo would have been proud. There in the middle of a studio in the School of Visual Arts in downtown New York stood a motionless young woman, arms akimbo. Around her 30 students, their easels pressed close together, were busy trying to transfer her image to paper. There is not way of measuring these things […]

The Subject Is the Land and the Sky and Yourself (The New York Times Education Supplement 9/76)

One of the results of the ecology movement of the late 1960s has been a trend toward outdoors-oriented education, programs for youngsters interested in becoming farmers or conservationists. Several dozen private schools have emerged in this alternative-school grouping and some educators regard them as one of the most exciting recent developments in secondary education. Their […]

Area Studies: Coming Back From Nowhere? (The New York Times 3/77)

Are today’s college students sufficiently literate in world affairs? How does one educate a foreign “area specialist?” Why are more and more countries in the Middle East closing their doors to American scholars — and what can the Government do about it? These are some of the questions to be taken up by a new […]

A visit with Citizen John Gardner (Think Spring 1977)

John Gardner is one of Washington, D.C.’s most obsessed men. His obsession is the public good. Last April 23, Gardner resigned as chief executive officer of Common Cause, the militant — and surprisingly effective — public interest lobby lie founded in 1970. Gardner, now 64, has spent virtually his entire life devising new tactics and […]

Environmental Study Is Growing Up (The New York Times 3/1/77)

Johnny Appleseed would have been pleased: environmental education is on the boom. Across the United States, in thousands of projects and courses that feature everything from hayrides and songfests to emotional discussions of air pollution and oil spills, American schoolchildren and their teachers are being educated in the eternal verities of nature, as well as […]

Schools Still Uncertain About Punishing Unruly (The New York Times 8/28/77)

Last April, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the use of corporal punishment — in this case, paddling — by a Miami junior high school, did not violate the constitutional prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishments.” The decision, reversing a recent trend by the nation’s court to limit the freedom of school administrators in […]

May brings Finns out to play (The European 9/1/93)

Finns turn their streets into a wild party to celebrate May Day, the festival of vappu, and visitors should not be surprised to encounter carousing Helsinkians high on sparkling wine. Helsinki ousted Turku, in the southwest, as Finland’s capital only in 1812, after the country was wrested from Sweden by Russia. A German-born architect, Carl […]

Summer Comes Gently to the Baltic (The European Magazine 5/95)

As capital cities go, Mariehamn is on the quiet side of peaceful. It sits, minding its own business, on the largest of the 6,500 Åland islands, where the Gulf of Bothnia meets the Baltic Sea midway between Sweden and Finland. Even this most metropolis, where most of the 24,000 Ålanders are concentrated, bursts into life […]

Helsinki Banishes Ennui and Emerges From the Twilight Zone (International Herald Tribune 3/13/98)

Once derided for its quietude by the visiting German playwright Bertolt Brecht as a city where people were “silent in two languages” (Finnish and Swedish), the capital of Finland has been loosening up giddily since the welcome demise seven years ago of the Soviet Union. The “Europeanization” of Helsinki has moved at an even faster […]

The Second Annual Crawdaddy Tattered Tassel Awards (Crawdaddy 10/78)

Well, college-watchers — students and alumni, parents and friends, government agents — it’s that time again. Time for Crawdaddy to celebrate the wonders, and wonderment, of American academe. That time when we take a look into the bustling, I-V covered halls of Catatonic State — beyond the PCP accidents, Heisman Trophies and other glittering paraphernalia […]

Neighborhood: Professional Children's School (Avenue 3/79)

For most East Side children, ice skating — like going to the movies — is an occasional pleasure, reserved for those winter weekends when it isn’t too cold outside and there isn’t too much homework and there isn’t anything good on television. Not so for Christina and Diana Emmet, of Park Avenue and 71st Street. […]

On Closer Examination (Cornell Alumni News 9/80)

As anyone who has been reading the education pages of his newspaper must know by now, these are not the happiest of times for the standardized testing industry — witness, for example, the many suits pending against the giant of that industry, the once infallible, Educational Testing Service. This might seem an indelicate moment, therefore, […]

Northern Lights (Condé Nast Traveller [UK] 10/98)

Rose was agog. Outside the window lay terra magica, the Finns’ very apt appellation for their naturally well-endowed land, all forests and lakes stretching as far as the eye could see. It was late October, somewhat late in the year, you might think, to visit this northern country. Our action-packed long weekend in Helsinki would […]

Earth College (Omni 5/81)

Earth Day this month will officially mark the ecology movement’s eleventh birthday. But, like most utopian movements that emerged out of the cultural and political upheavals of the late ’60s and early ’70s, the ecology movement produced as much chaff as wheat. It gave us Earth Day, and it gave us Earth Shoes. It generated […]

Unlikely Splendour (Helsinki Happens 10/11/98)

On the face of things, Karkkila would seem an unlikely place for one to establish a retro-chic hotel-resort with gourmet restaurant — or any sort of hostelry, for that matter. For most Finns, the small, former industrial town of 8,000 located 75 kilometres northwest of Helsinki, once the epicenter of the great, now bankrupt Högfors […]

A Separate Space: A profile of Williams College (Unpublished 2/81)

Alcoholism. “Campus shock.” Illiterate students. Hostile faculty. Striking workers. Dwindling endowments. These are some of the increasingly knotty administrative problems facing college officials around the country as they reopen the gates to their beleaguered institutions for spring term. It is a daunting — and depressing — tableau. Even the Ivies are no longer immune to […]

Maps (Financial Times: How To Spend It 5/00)

Stamped with ornate cartouches, embellished with ships and monsters, old maps are things or rare beauty and great fascination, as well as being increasingly valuable. Gordon F Sander charts the rise of cartographic art. For Catherine Slowther, the much-in-demand specialist in old maps and atlases at Sotheby’s London, her work is her passion. “To look […]

Robert Redford: Sundance to a Different Drummer (Omni 4/82)

Robert Redford gets a rude awakening to the politics of environmentalism. The people turned him into a symbol, Robert Redford says. They made a dummy with a blond wig. More than 500 residents of Kane County, Utah, cheered when they hoisted the dummy up to set it on fire. One speaker called him “skunkman, a […]

Tallinn (Financial Times: How To Spend It 6/00)

A decade after the Russians left, Estonia’s capital citizens are racing headlong into the 21st century. But they haven’t neglected to preserve their compact, colourful city’s delights. Four years ago, even three, the notion of spending a long, luxurious weekend in Tallinn would have been inherently absurd, both because of the total absence of luxury […]

Al Franken review (Wisdom's Child 6/76)

If you and your date happen to be in the vicinity of Lincoln Center late one Sunday night, and you’re beginning to find each other’s company somewhat taxing, I strongly suggest you go directly to O’Neal’s Baloon. As a resident of the West Side you will doubtless already be familiar with O’Neal’s virtues as restaurant/bar. […]

Stockholm (Financial Times: How To Spend It 10/00)

The Swedish capital has added a sense of glamour and fun to its historic attractions. Gordon F Sander spends a weekend immersed in its bloody past and sizzling present. The blue-veined Swedish capital has always been a bit like its most famous modern daughter, Greta Garbo: breathtakingly beautiful, but rather steely, and not nearly as […]

The Good Times (Cornell Alumni News 9/76)

An English Woman remembers Cornell in the ’20s In June 1927, Elspeth Grant was graduated from Reading University in England with a diploma in agriculture; she was only 20. In honor of the occasion, her uncle, who was also her guardian, decided to give his precocious niece a gift of some sort. Would she like […]

Helsinki U. Seethes with Student Unrest, First Since the 60's (The Chronicle of Higher Education 12/12/90)

Student loans, university budgets, and campus governance are issues. For the first time since the late 1960′s, the University of Helsinki, Finland’s flagship institution of higher education, is seething with student discontent. While the previous wave of unrest focused largely on allegations of elitism against the university’s student union, these days the chief points of […]

Donovan at Large (Unpublished 1980)

Treatment for a TV series about the adventures of a happy-go-lucky freelance investigative journalist based roughly on “The Rockford Files.” An episodic drama with comedic overtones using as its raison d’être the adventures and misadventures of one J.P. Donovan, an itinerant freelance investigative reporter working out of Boston. Sort of a cross between “The Name […]

Talisman: A Resort Whose Luck Ran Out (Fire Island News 6/2/88)

It was, according to one writer, “the kind of place where girls like Holly Golightly and Lorelei Lee might rest, away from the hunting grounds of the Riviera and the playing fields of Cartier’s.” It was the kind of place where the flags of 20 nations flew at dockside, ready to welcome its international clientele […]

'Nowledge Nosh (Unpublished 1981)

Selected excerpts from the controversial advertising brochure and descriptive catalog for ‘NOWLEDGE NOSH, New York City’s most exciting continuing education program, which was mysteriously inserted into several hundred thousand copies of a recent edition of the Sunday New York Times…. *********************************[Cover page]********************************** A MESSAGE FROM OUR LEADER — AND AN INVITATION…. Greetings! ‘NOWLEDGE NOSH, Gotham’s […]

Coast Guard Novel (Unpublished 1982)

The following is the prologue for a novel about the fictionalized adventures of a real-life Coast Guardsman, who is a lookout on one of the first Coast Guard cutters assigned to drug interdiction duty in the Caribbean in the late 1970s. PROLOGUE: THE NAME OF THE GAME (March, 1978) “The best part of a voyage […]

Fire Island During the Sixties (Fire Island News 8/20/87)

HAPPENING HAPPENING TONIGHT– Tom Potocki and Gary Winters, artists about Fire Island, blow their artistic minds and invite other islanders to do the same when they stage their Fire Island happening, ‘Plastic Grass,’ at the Seaview recreation area on the bay tonight, starting at 6 p.m. Potocki and Winters have gone through their entire life […]

Looking Forward To Mondays (The New York Times 6/19/94)

Weeknight doldrums? Not at the China Club. Cross “The Cotton Club” with “Saturday Night Fever,” add a dash of “Star Wars” (remember the interplanetary saloon?) and you’ll have an idea of the scene that unfolds every Monday night at the China Club, the venerable dance palace and rock club at 75th Street and Broadway. Call […]

London’s Millenium Fever (Preservation 5-6/97)

Looking boldly ahead to the year 2000, Britain’s ancient capital remembers that the Thames first gave it life. Architect Richard Rogers plans to use the river once again as the city’s high street, hoping to encourage a general renaissance. *** Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul, who […]

Waitresses and the Muse (Unpublished 1984)

Unpublished, 1984 It had been one of those awful summer weeks. The landlord was threatening to evict me. My cat was dying. So was my air conditioner. I was lonely. I was depressed. I was vulnerable. “Would you like to see a menu, sir?” I looked up. She was young, 21 maybe, 22 tops. A […]

No Friends to the Fir (Sierra 5-6/91)

As Soviet acid rain falls on the forests of Lapland, nature-loving Finns find that glasnost alone isn’t good enough. The Soviet Union’s problems in the Baltic region are not limited to burgeoning independence movements in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. While the end of the Cold War should have brought an easing of tensions between the […]

Turku: Making the most of Finland proper (Scandinavian Review, Summer ’01)

Finland proper. That — as the proud, even arrogant, residents of Turku and its environs are fond of reminding visitors — is the proper term for their history-drenched, if comparatively little-known corner of the world. This somewhat high-blown, if defensible expression derives from the salient and inarguable fact that this southwestern corner of Suomi was […]

The Overachiever Awards (Rolling Stone 8/27/84)

THE ROBERT VESCO SELF-IMPROVEMENT THROUGH GRANT THEFT, EMBEZZLEMENT, FORGERY AND IMPERSONATION FELLOWSHIP (includes one-way fare to Costa Rica): Edgar P. Berube, New England College, Beloit College, Iowa State University Fraternity brothers at the University of New Hampshire thought he was a member of the Kennedy clan. The admissions counselor at Beloit College was convinced he […]

The Greening of Scandinavia (Scandinavian Review 1992)

In an unprecedented act of transnational eco-cooperation, the governments of Finland, Sweden, and Norway recently announced that they had put together a $1 billion fund to help the Russian government clean up the noxious nickel factories in the Kola Peninsula, whose sulfur dioxide emissions are endangering the three countries’ Lappish forests. A new poll shows […]

Innocence Lost (The New York Times Magazine 8/22/76)

I. James Boswell once wrote that if he ever knew that the world was coming to an end he would move to the Netherlands, “because everything happens 50 years later there.” The Netherlands is certainly not as isolated or as insulated as it used to be — indeed, because of its industry and resourcefulness, as […]

Finnish Furniture Goes Global (The European 9/15/98)

If you’ve been casting envious glances at a colleague’s mobile phone recently, the chances are it’s a Nokia. While other mobile phoe manufacturers compete to see who can make the smallest, most high-tech hindset, the Finnish company Nokia concentrates on making phones that are easy to handle and beautiful to look at. Such simple, functional […]

Hurricane of `38 Gave Island a Sucker Punch (Fire Island News 5/26/88)

“Eight persons were reported missing from Fire Island, which felt the full force of the storm. According to word received last night by Suffolk County police, there were six persons missing at Mastic Beach. – The New York Times, Sept. 22, 1938 “Rain and cold today,” the New York Times advised its readers on its […]

Saratoga Springs (Financial Times: How To Spend It 8/01)

In an American spa town built on gambling, any whiff of sleaze is quickly dispersed by old world charm. Gordon Sander takes a dip. Jenny Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill was keen on the place. Lillian Russell, the It girl of the American Victorian era, used to strut her stuff here. And so have […]

New York at Night (Unpublished '95)

“So, what’s the deal with people dancing in their chairs?” asked Louise Tornehave of Stockholm, my current houseguest and nocturnal companion, on a recent evening at System, the latest Manhattan nightclub we had come to check out. Techno reverberated through the smoky, twin bar-cum-lounge atrium, as several hundred Thursday night partiers of all ages, sects, […]

No Speed Limit: Lake Mead, 1969 (Unpublished 1986)

It was difficult to make out the triangular sign by the side of Lakeshore Road on the road to Las Vegas, particularly at the high subsonic speeds my friends from Boulder City often attained, but if you concentrated, you could manage it: DESERT NO SPEED LIMIT “BLAST OFF,” it could just as well have said. […]

Wave of Reform Crests in Denmark (The Chronicle of Higher Education 4/20/94)

The most far-reaching overhaul in the history of Danish higher education is entering its final phase. Government and university officials are putting into effect the last of a wave of reforms passed during the decade-long tenure of the sometimes controversial Minister of Education and Research, Bertel Haarder. “I finished it all before I left office,” […]

Twilight Zone: A Serling Performance (Memories 10-11/89)

Friday night, like the rest of premier week that October in 1959, found the TV networks relying heavily on the tried and true. NBC’s Gillette Cavalcade of Sports was back for its 11th season. ABC, exploiting the popularity of NBC’s Peter Gunn, a slick crime show, introduced The Detectives, a hard-driving, New York-based action program […]

Ruminations of an Ex-Space Cowboy (The Cornell Daily Sun 1/30/87)

Why did they have to take “Let’s Spend the Night Together” off the Ivy Room jukebox!? The walk across the Arts Quad, in scythe-like winds, becomes progressively less enchanting with each morning’s try. It is positive relief to reach the collegiate Gothic warmth and security of the Straight. Above the Memorial Room, a reassuring, if […]

Luxembourg (Encyclopedia Americana Annual '77)

Luxembourgers had little cause for worry in 1976. Despite a slight drop in iron and steel production — the mainstay of its economy — and a corresponding decline in the gross national a product, the grand duchy remained one of the most economically secure places throughout Europe, with a minimal 11% rate of inflation, a […]

Laura (Unpublished '96)

Sample column developed for possible, regular feature in paper to be entitled Naked City, after the 1950s television show about New York City which began with the voiceover: “There are eight million stories in the Naked City, and this is one of them–” The bar was empty, except for Laura and me. George Michael was […]

Baltic hands link across a troubled sea (Financial Times Weekend 4/8/00)

A new dynamism and unity is rolling across the previously divided region. But the birth of Homo Balticus is not without its problems, writes Gordon Sander Some call it the new Baltic renaissance, or the resurgent Baltic Brotherhood. Others call it the new Hansa — a resurrection of the powerful league of Baltic city-states that […]

Riga (Financial Times: How To Spend It 6/02)

Once one of Europe’s most sophisticated cities, the Latvian capital has now regained its allure as the Pearl of the Baltic. Gordon F Sander strolls among the world’s largest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture. Seventy years ago, while most of Europe was mired in economic and political strife, Riga was one of the continent’s most […]

Ahead at the Finnish (Cornell Alumni News 1-2/94)

The winds of change that blew across the Hill in the late 1960s have borne distant fruit, in the person of Risto Ihamuotila, the new rector of Helsinki University in Finland. “I would never have been here” — meaning the rector’s chair — “without Cornell,” the very tall (six-foot, eight-inch), very kindly, and very serious […]

Swedish Hit Factory (Scanorama 11/00)

Stockholm has turned into one of the world’s premier pop music hot spots and the Swedish touch is topping charts worldwide. Now MTV Europe will come to the city’s Globe arena to host its annual music awards. Gordon F. Sander swooped into town to check Stockholm’s pop music pulse. Every so often, it seems, a […]

A Newcomer From Twilight (East Hampton Star 3/23/89)

“What are you writing a book about?” the butterscotch-tinted lady who tends the Guild Hall gift shop asked, as I paid for a stack of Lemuel Maynard Wiles (1826-1905) Home, Sweet Home postcards, to be used as change of address notices for friends, agent, ex-girlfriends, etc. She sounded genuinely interested. But she was in a […]

Netherlands (Encyclopedia Americana Annual '77)

On balance, 1976 was a year most Dutchmen would just as well like to forget. Their problems were largely domestic: the economy basically stagnated; the House of Orange was wracked by the worst scandal in its 140-year-old reign; and the center-left coalition government, its cracks widening, almost collapsed during bitter disputes over such issues as […]

A More Perfect Union (Lingua Franca 6/94)

Finland is such a nice place. Generous yet efficient social services; stripped pine furniture; saunas; record numbers of women in parliament…and while unemployment reaches 22 percent and breadlines lime in the streets of Helsinki, the business that, improbably, continues to be profitable to the tune of $5.23 million a year is Helsingin Yliopiston Ylioppilaskunta — […]

The Hotel Where Worlds Collide (The New York Times 6/19/96)

Take Stage Door, the fabled 1937 movie about a Broadway rooming house; crosscut it with The Chelsea Girls; add a touch of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and you get some notion of the atmosphere at the Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street. On any given day the hotel’s cavernous lobby, bedecked with Pop Art, […]

The Hague (Financial Times: How To Spend It 11/02)

The Hague: Once it was Europe’s political and aesthetic heart, but time hasn’t stood still in a city that offers a rich combination of art, cuisine and architecture. The 19th-century German writer and philosopher Heinrich Heine once wrote that were he ever certain that the world was coming to an end, he would move to […]

Franchot Tone and the Golden Age of Cornell Theater (Unpublished 1990)

The production was remarkably done, the high standard set by other offerings was equaled, if not surpassed, and many new leaves were added to the actors’ laurel crowns. Robert T. Henkle ’27 of New London, Connecticut as Bottom carried along the laughter of the audience–Franchot Tone ’27 of Niagra Falls as Oberon, Herbet Crony ’28 […]

Surf's Up (No Sunscreen Needed) (The New York Times 10/20/96)

You see those two blokes who just walked in?” said Olli Vigors, an owner of Vingt Quatre, London’s only 24-hour cafe. “One’s an earl, and the other is a doorman.” They were just two of the many who have lately been spotted at Vingt Quatre and the five other restaurants and clubs in southwest London […]

The Irish, These Days, Stay Home and Go Out (The New York Times 2/4/01)

“This place is really full, isn’t it?” shouted Barry O’Sullivan, manager of Club M, a discothèque at the edge of the Temple Bar district, one Saturday evening last month. He looked over his shoulder at a dance floor packed with bodies in various stages of advanced locomotion. Mr. O’Sullivan, a Trinity College engineering graduate who […]

The Teacher Who Inspired Me (Parade 10/20/94)

This article began with a hunch: that behind every success story lies the influence or inspiration of an extraordinary teacher. We were right. Invariably, the leaders and high achievers we interviewed eagerly recalled at least one teacher or professor who had made a difference in their lives and careers. Here is what some prominent Americans […]

The Gordon Sander Family Suggestion Box (Unpublished 9/89)

Most frequent complaints, as heard by subject, either directly or relayed by other relative (10 most frequent in 1989): 1. Generally irresponsible 2. Financially irresponsible 3. Insufficiently amiable on social occasions 4. Leaves inane phone messages 5. Shouldn’t have fallen out of treehouse 6. Shouldn’t have moved out to East Hampton 7. Shouldn’t be such […]

Day By Day in Every Way I Am Getting Better and Better: Emile Coué and the Birth of American Positive Thinking (Unpublished 1972)

PREFACE/INTRODUCTION In Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, published in 1956, Martin Gardner does a splendid job of describing several dozen of history’s most convincing “sciosophs” and their eccentric theories. Yet I miss any mention of Philip Emile Coué (1857-1926) and his program of induced conscious autosuggestion. For a brief but spectacular period […]

Live From Helsinki's Bat Cave (International Herald Tribune 11/9/94)

One of Finland’s welcome psychological constants during the turbulent 1990s has been Radio City, the Helsinki area’s most popular radio station, which airs a strange, therapeutic brew of talk, tunes and nonsense 24 hours a day. Founded in 1985 as an alternative to the dowdy, state-run Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE), this once upstart pop station, […]

A Helsinki State of Mind (Financial Times 5/17/03)

“Isn’t this unbelievable?” I said to my friend, Kristine, as our 12-seat helicopter churned its way through the 18 spectacular minutes separating Helsinki from its sister Baltic city of Tallinn. Forty-eight hours earlier, Kristine, a fashion writer who hails from Latvia but had never been to the eastern Baltic, had flown into the Finnish capital […]

We Offer, For Your Consideration, Rod Serling (A&E Monthly 6/94)

For Zonies, the words are like a mantra by now — ominous, yet somehow reassuring. “You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension,” a sinuous voice intones off camera, as a giant eyeball and shattering window hurtle past. “–a dimension of sound–a dimension of mind–” The voice, of course, […]

Two postcards from the Åland Islands (9/90)

Dear Mike, Fred is the word for “peace” in Swedish, but it really ought to be Åland, the name of these beguiling islands lying between Finland and Sweden. Åland was declared a demilitarized zone by Russia in 1856, after its forces had been blasted out of the water by an Anglo-French expedition during the Crimean […]

She Without Whom No Party is Complete (The New York Times 5/2/99)

Three years, some 2,000 parties and dozens of widely read columns later, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson has mixed feelings about being London’s longest serving Drop Dead girl. “I’m emotionally bankrupt,” Ms. Palmer-Tomkinson said over lunch at the staid and sober Oxford-Cambridge Club. “Then again, who wouldn’t be with my schedule?” London’s ultimate party girl, Ms Palmer-Tomkinson sometimes […]

Romantic as a Caterpillar (Financial Times 12/28/02)

The great cinema directors bequeath great moments to us. Cinephiles have their Bresson moments, their Renoir moments, and, moving closer to the present day, their Scorsese and Woody Allen moments. Aki Kaurismäki, the Finnish director whose Cannes-garlanded Man Without a Past opens in London in the new year, has already provided us with plenty of […]

The Åland Islands: A Place Worlds Apart (Unpublished ’04)

If you thought obscure principalities and autonomous regions were more of a French, Spanish, and Italian oddity, Finland can be added to the mix. Lying in the Gulf of Bothnia, Åland is an autonomous unilingual demilitarized (Swedish-speaking) demilitarized province of Finland, famous for its tax-free status in the middle of two of the world’s most […]

Collegiate Cousins: Bard and Sarah Lawrence (Hudson Valley 3/95)

One of the measures of the richness of the educational topsoil of the Hudson Valley — which for the purposes of this series we are calling the Ivy Valley — is the fact that the region has given rise to two of the most distinctive and successful liberal-arts colleges in the United States — namely, […]

Double Time (Scanorama 6/02)

In 1997, The Twin Tali sisters from Estonia founded the Estonian-Finnish Symphony Orchestra, a melting pot of musical energy. Gordon F. Sander caught up with Anu and Kadri Tali in their hometown of Tallinn. From Scanorama, June 2002.

Estonia: Lost and Found (Time 1/05)

Moura Budberg, H.G. Wells, and the Lost World of Yendel She met me at the airport in Tallinn, candid seeming, self-possessed and affectionate. She kissed me. You look tired, my dear. Your eyes are tired–We dropped my bags in the Balts’ Club in town and drove to a restaurant on the outskirts to get some […]

A Dutch City Gets Its Buzz Back (The New York Times 1/8/06)

Time was if you mentioned The Hague to someone from Amsterdam, the most likely comment you would have received would have been “stately,” followed closely by “boring” (if not the reverse). The Hague, site of the 13th century Binnenhof, where the Dutch parliament meets, has long labored in the shadows of its supposedly hipper sister […]

Woodstock Redux: Love It/Hate It (Hudson Valley 8/94)

Hate It: Farewell Aquarius Woodstock Redux? Thanks, but no thanks. Personally speaking, the thought of all those aging baby boomers taking out their faded tie-dyes and rusty hash pipes for one last exorbitant–and, to my mind, contrived–blast from the past at Bethel ’94, the baby-boomer folkie-nostalgia show organized by Sid Bernstein, leaves me distinctly unenthused. […]

English Jeweler, a Bit Faded, Turns to the House of Jagger (The New York Times 4/29/01)

I don’t want to design jewelry just for the ladies who lunch,” Jade Jagger declared with puckish emphasis, lunching at Claridge’s earlier this month, as one of the grandes dames in question, seated nearby, flashed a look of disapproval and returned to her pheasant. “That’s not what my job is about.” Ms. Jagger was referring […]

A Helsinki State of Mind (Financial Times 5/16/03)

Gordon Sander discovers there is much to see in the Finnish capital and squeezes in a helicopter ride to Estonia. “Isn’t this unbelievable?” I said to my friend, Kristine, as our 12-seat helicopter churned its way through the 18 spectacular minutes separating Helsinki from its sister Baltic city of Tallinn. Forty-eight hours earlier, Kristine, a […]

Academic Studies Rank High at West Point (Hudson Valley 8/95)

It’s no longer enough to be an officer and a gentleman. Now, the U.S. Military Academy trains its cadets to be creative thinkers, too. “Do you have one of those for each of us?” The major asked me, in a voice loud enough for the 16 uniformed cadets seated with me in the small, spotless […]

Letter from London (Unpublished '97)

London, as you may have noticed, has a buzz again. “London — The Coolest City on the Planet,” cried an article in Newsweek last November. The resurgence of London fashion, the explosion in the city’s polyrhythmic club scene, as well as the new local architecture boom were all cited by the magazine’s trend spotters as […]

Estonia Lost and Found: Moura Budberg, H.G. Wells and the Lost World of Yendel (Estonian Air 1/05)

She met me at the airport in Tallinn, candid-seeming, self-possessed and affectionate. She kissed me. You look tired, my dear. Your eyes are tired… We dropped my bags in the Balts’ Club in town and drove to a restaurant on the outskirts to get some lunch, for the train to Kallijarv did not go until […]

A tale of two countries: The Finnish-Estonian Rapprochement (Scandinavian Review 4/99)

John O’Brien, an English travel writer, has the distinction of publishing the first post-Soviet travel guide to Estonia in English. Brought out in 1993, just as Russian forces were finally — and belatedly — evacuating the former Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, Estonia: The Guidebook, has a number of blanks in it, especially when describing “forbidden […]

Gypsy King of the Lower East Side (Unpublished '07)

Upon arriving to the melting pot I got penciled in as a goddam white Now that I’m categorized Officer gets me naturalized O-yo-yoi legalize me! O-yo-you legalize me! So go the rousing words to “Immigrant Punk,” the song about the legal woes of the latest wave of newcomers to our shores by Eugene Hutz, the […]

In the Steps of Byron (CNN Traveller 4/06)

The legendary British poet Lord Byron was a leading figure in the 19th-century Greek independence movement. Today, in the cities of Ioannina and Missolonghi, his legacy lives on.

Estonia Lost and Found: The Secret Lives of Tallinn Hotels (In Time, Winter 2005)

Interested in Estonian history? One of the best places to discover Tallinn’s fascinating and turbulent history is your hotel. Case in point: the Sokos Hotel Viru. Built in the early 1970s, when the then Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the crown jewels of the Soviet Empire, the twenty two story, 516 room Viru, […]

Confusion As Centre Holds (Times of London 8/25/95)

After a year replacing a Conservative government which extensively decentralised Swedish higher education, the Social Democrats are finding it hard to re-assert their old authority. Boel Flodgren, rector of Lund University is one of many university administrators strongly opposed to the policies of Carl Tham, minister of education and science, and his officials. The university […]

Sweden: After the Fall (Wilson Quarterly 2/96)

Nowhere in the world has the dream of reason been pursued quite so vigorously as in the Kingdom of Sweden. Under Social Democratic leadership, this Scandinavian country became famous around the world for its humane “Middle Way.” Swedes believed that their distinctive “Swedish model,” with its massive welfare state, its near-null unemployment, and its lofty […]

The Risley Sanction (The Cornell Daily Sun 5/2/03)

I have one of the oddest faculty — or quasi-faculty — positions at Cornell, as well as one of the coolest. And what makes my job so anomalous also happens to be what makes it so cool. As one of the two guest suite artists, or GSAs, as we are technically known in Ris-speak (a.k.a. […]

Baltic Babes: The Hardest Working Models (City Paper 12/04)

On a recent morning in the down-town Tallinn offices of Estonian Model Agency, better known as EMA, the pace was tempo furioso. While agency co-managing director Katrin Rannaväli feverishly worked the long distance phone lines in one corner of the cluttered, magazine cover-lined working-cum-prep space — “No, she’s not available; yes, she’s available” — in […]

What I Miss About Cornell (The Cornell Daily Sun 09/28/06)

Let me get this straight right off the bat. I love Cornell — as it is. And yet–and yet– Background: four years ago I did something I never thought I would do: I came back to Cornell to spend a year as artist in residence — or guest suite artist, as it was called then […]

Return to Earth College (Inside Higher Education 7/13/05)

I’m not much one for reunions at my alma mater. But I did have a 25th reunion last month at one of my journalistic alma maters, so to speak: College of the Atlantic, the small, environmentally oriented, alternative liberal arts college located off the coast of Maine. It was one of the colleges I covered […]

Estonia Lost and Found: Paldiski (Spring ’07)

Until recently, a foreigner asking for Paldiski, the former Soviet “forbidden city” located fifty kilometres west of Tallinn, which at one time was the headquarters for the once formidable nuclear-armed Baltic submarine fleet, would most likely have received second looks. Paldiski? You must be crazy! Why would you want to go there? To be sure, […]