What Are You Reading

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Lancealot, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Seldes is one of my favorite authors of the Era -- a hardboiled and fearless investigator in the tradition of Lincoln Steffens. Everything he wrote is worth reading -- and he wrote a lot. He also had the great personal satisfaction of outliving every single one of his enemies -- his last book, "Witness to a Century," was a best seller when he was 97 years old, and he made it to 104.
     
    St.Ignatz likes this.
  2. St.Ignatz

    St.Ignatz Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,366
    Location:
    Left of Philadelphia
    "Witness to a Century" got me hooked on GS. That book led to more Seldes and his reference to "American Reporters on the Western Front 1914-18" had me seek it out. No. 3 on my to read stack. His "In Fact" publications are interesting as well.
     
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Oh yes, "In Fact" is indispensable to an understanding of the media dynamics of the Era -- that it isn't widely available online is a great loss to media scholarship. Seldes was the first journalist to prove beyond doubt something I'd always suspected -- that the "America's Town Meeting of the Air" radio discussion forum used audience plants to fluff the crowd against speakers and viewpoints in disfavor with the producers -- and "In Fact" was where he published the evidence.

    Another excellent Seldes book is "The People Don't Know," from 1949, which documents how the media sold the Cold War to the public in the years after WWII. I didn't realize until after I'd bought my copy and gotten it home that it was autographed by the author.
     
  4. St.Ignatz

    St.Ignatz Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,366
    Location:
    Left of Philadelphia
    Lucky find indeed. You Can' t Print That ! is next.
     
  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,083
    Location:
    New York City
    md30536184965.jpg
    The Second Happiest Day by John Phillips published in 1953

    Somebody, I'm not saying who, has a weakness for soap-opera-style novels from the fifties. This same somebody thinks the fifties was the peak period for this genre as, afterwards, it descended into excess as all the cultural guardrails came off causing storytelling to suffered as gratuituous sex increased.

    But fear not, as the fifties was chockablock with saponaceous tales of family intrigue, illicit affairs, inter-generational fighting, backstabbing frenemies, old secrets being revealed, dirty business deals and societal hypocrisy: you know, all the lurid stuff that makes a good soap-opera novel so much fun. Standing proud as a wonderful example of this genre, but little known today, is The Second Happiest Day.

    And in The Second Happiest Day, author Phillips brings us into the world of upper-class, old-line, Eastern Establishment money, power and society through the eyes of an outsider allowed an insider's look. Gus Taylor, a "townie" and orphan adopted by his well-bred-but-of-modest-means aunt and uncle, enters that elite world via a scholarship to a fictional New England prep school (think Groton) allowing him to live and study with boys from wealthy and influential families.

    Though, before we learn that history, Phillips starts the story near the end where we meet an in-his-mid-twenties Gus on his way to a former prep-school friend's wedding.

    Here, in New York City, at the snooty Water Club, we are introduced to many of Gus' friends and acquaintances and learn that there is a lot of subtext to all these relationships: nicknames that still have the ability to hurt, financial and moral debts that haven't been repaid, affairs that haven't been forgiven and plenty of resentments, slights and grudges (like a broken nose from an aggressive game of prep-school football, fifteen years ago) still smouldering.

    At the center of it all is Gus' relationship with the affable, born-to-money George Marsh who becomes Gus' best friend in prep school. In George, Gus sees a person he'd like to be and a world he'd like to enter; whereas, George, always trying to please others, sees in Gus simply someone he hopes will be a good friend for life.

    Okay, you get the set up and can probably guess a lot that will happen - deep friendships form at boarding school, awkward introductions to parents occur where money and background differences are apparent, then, as the boys mature, girls come into the picture and, finally, it's off to college, the Ivies of course. All along, Gus is the "outsider" "accepted" by the others, in particular, George, who has a preternatural need to be everyone's friend. But below the surface, everyone knows, and no one more than Gus, that he's not of that world.

    The next real turn in the boys' lives starts when girls become a bigger part of the story as George's girl, Lila Noris - from an "old money" Sutton Place family, but with an atypical businesswoman mother - becomes a close friend of Gus' as well. And just when everyone is about to start his or her adult life, WWII intervenes, providing another opportunity for money, class and connections to drive wedges and determine outcomes in lives and relationships.

    Gus and George both survive the war without physical injuries and with respectable war records, but with some friends lost and everyone edgier and feeling like they are behind in real life. For Gus, it's off to law school as he sporadically tries to extricate himself from the upper-class social world he loves, but cannot afford. For George, it's a series of career starts that never stick (the problem is he already has enough money), but his real goal is to convince the always-hesitant-to-commit Lila to finally agree to marry him.

    And after much cajoling (a big red flag to any potential suitor), Lila, at last, consents to an engagement with George, but she won't set a date. So, George goes hither and yon in search of a career (Texas - oil, Connecticut - farming, Europe - ideas and connections), while Lila ponders her future, too often, on Gus' shoulder.

    And this is where all the threads of the story come together. Will Lila marry George, the safe bet of money marrying money from the same "class?" Or will she call an audible, break her engagement and pursue a risky relationship with what has become, in George's absence, her (yup) friend-with-benefits Gus? Will Gus and George's friendship be able to withstand a Brutus-level backstabbing? Will Gus even be able to stay in the world of money and social connections he loves, but has never truly belonged in? Will poor-little-rich-boy George be able to stabilize his aimless life if Gus and Lila abandon him?

    Along with some other subplots centered around parental betrayal, alcoholism and shockingly immature middle-aged adults, The Second Happiest Day is about to wrap up, so we'll stop here and leave its final plot surprises unrevealed. I warned you at the beginning that it is a soap opera, and a darn fine one, but no one will mistake it for great literature.

    However, beyond being well-done, albeit, tawdry entertainment, the book is also a wonderful time capsule of an elite slice of America just before and after World War II. Be it prep schools, Ivy colleges, clubs, cars, attitudes about sex, drinking or business - Wall Street in particular - The Second Happiest Day provides a revealingly contemporaneous look at the Eastern Establishment during the peak of its power.
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,083
    Location:
    New York City
    51NzXFUNjXL-2.jpg
    World War II Nebraska by Melissa Amateis published in 2020

    As noted in the preface by author Melissa Amateis, World War II Nebraska is a blend of academic and popular history serving as a brief overview of Nebraska's activities and accomplishments during the war years.

    It is a niche book that wonderfully helps fill a gap in popular history as it sits between the overarching war-strategy books and big-personality biographies of giants like Churchill on one side and the personal-account stories of the footsoldier, cryptographer at Bletchley, the spy who helped save D-Day, etc., on the other.

    In all those different accounts, we are often told, almost as an aside, that the "home front mobilized" or "war production output increased while civilians pitched in with scrap drives and victory gardens," but the focus is elsewhere. In those books, the home front's "mundane" efforts are, frequently, all but taken for granted.

    But here, in World War II Nebraska, we learn what really happened on the home front in, yes, Nebraska, but also, by proxy, much of the middle of the country. We see that all those planes that bombed Germany and Japan came about as factories and airfields were built with breakneck speed near cities and towns across "flat" and "interior" (safe from enemy bombing) states like Nebraska. And not only were factories for planes built, but Nebraska was the sight of several ammunition and ordnance plants: For the bombers to be effective, they need to have something to drop out of them that goes boom.

    And while all the academic numbers and research are here, Amateis personalizes the stories as we see how some farmers were all but cheated out of their land (needed for airstrips and factories) by low-ball government bids. We also learn that rents often skyrocketed owing to the influx of workers as worker shortages were addressed by the "importation" of labor - including women and minorities - from other states, as well as, the utilization of prison and (yup) prisoner-of-war labor.

    The ugliness of segregation of the armed forces is here, too, including even separate USOs and other recreational facilities for black and white servicemen. And, of course, with soldiers and airmen coming to the bases, venereal diseases spiked in the general population, despite all the military's efforts, including films and educational material for the troops, to prevent it.

    But good also came to Nebraska in economic growth, new friendships and the incredible North Platte Canteen that welcomed and fed, solely from donations and volunteer work, soldiers passing through on trains. Nebraska was also home to a ground-breaking military-dog-training program. Additionally and wonderfully, several POWs - so taken with Nebraska and the USA - chose, after being sent home following the war, to immigrate to Nebraska.

    In an inspiring section, we learn about notable Nebraskans whose individual efforts stood out even in a war, a moment in history and a generation marked by impressive personal sacrifice, courage and achievement. One stirring example is Nebraskan-born Ben Kuroki of Japanese descent who pushed against racial prejudice to be allowed to fight for his country. Pause on that for a moment: A man experiencing ugly racism in his own country still fought for and won the right to - what? - potentially die in combat defending a country that was humiliating him and relocating, to internment camps, many of his fellow Japanese-American countrymen.

    And Kuroki not only won the right to join the military, he won the right to fly combat missions as a tail gunner over both Germany and Japan. There is nothing more complexly American in WWII than a Japanese American man having to fight for the right to join a B-29 crew to participate in bombing runs over Japan. We should never stop pushing against prejudice and racism, but one doubts that today's absolutist views could produce a man such as Kuroki who could balance the good and bad of his country with such dignity and purpose.

    Lastly, we learn about Nebraska's prodigious agricultural output that helped to feed, not only American civilians and servicemen, but also, the United State's allies in war-ravaged Europe. Nebraska's excess farm labor and food output of the 1930s, which depressed wages and crop prices throughout that decade, became shortages of labor in WWII, as men enlisted, moved to cities or went to work in war factories, while increased food demand drove crop prices higher.

    Yes, you want to read World War II Nebraska for its academic bona fides, its unique home-front perspective and its inspiring stories of small and large sacrifices and struggles. But you also want to read it so that the next time you're in the middle of a traditional World War II book that elides the contributions made on the home front, you will understand the depth of civilian commitment, focus, effort and patriotism that made the home front, in Nebraska and, by inference, the rest of the country, the backbone of those overseas WWII victories that are celebrated to this day.


    N.B., Author Melissa Amateis, @AmateisGal, is a regular Fedora Lounge contributor.
     
    Touchofevil, Just Jim and AmateisGal like this.
  7. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I am indeed humbled by this review, @Fading Fast. Thank you so very, very much for reading my book and writing this superb review. I am so very grateful!
     
  8. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,083
    Location:
    New York City
    Thank you, but you did the hard work of researching and writing an original book that makes a meaningful contribution to the story about the home front in WWII; all I did was read it and crib a few facts and anecdotes into a review.
     
    Touchofevil and AmateisGal like this.
  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,083
    Location:
    New York City
    _3qrCQAAQBAJ.jpeg
    B.F.'s Daughter by John P MarQuand originally published in 1946

    "Nobody cares about a girl on a yacht." - Tom Brett to Polly Fulton


    B.F.'s Daughter examines this statement as we follow the life of a young girl, Polly Fulton, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist. Born into a world of money - big houses, chauffeurs, maids, private schools, etc. - in the Depression, Polly struggles to create her own identity and space in a world that maybe doesn't care that much about a girl on a metaphorical yacht.

    A just-out-of-college Polly shocks her father, a self-made man with a kind heart, an endless interest in everything and a personality that just takes over if allowed, by breaking her engagement to Bob Tasmin, a born-to-a-good-family, up-and-coming lawyer who is also a nice guy and sincerely in love with Polly, to marry a left-wing teacher and writer, Tom Brett.

    Why does Polly do this? She doesn't even really know herself, but somehow "feels" that life has been made too easy for her and that Tom - good with words, but not people or life - will need her more than Bob, which will give her life real meaning. We'll see shortly how that works out.

    And if you think this is going to be a book about capitalism versus socialism or even about a dominating industrialist versus a radical intellectual, as I thought at first, you'll realize later on that their roles here are to provide antipodes for Polly to measure herself against. To that end, the book takes a reasonably balanced view of both men: a refreshing approach in what is usually a world, then and now, that makes one all good and one all evil.

    But back to our girl on the yacht, um, Polly. Despite her stated willingness to renounce her father's money, both she and (surprisingly) Tom accept the generous allowance her dad gives her upon her marriage, which Polly uses to support Tom in a very comfortable lifestyle while he goes on fighting for the working class. Polly likes saying she doesn't care about money, but she seems to enjoy having it. After several good years of married life, we find Tom as a bigwig "New Dealer" in Washington before and during WWII with Polly in New York always waiting for Tom to come home.

    Fed up with waiting, the book climaxes as Polly goes to Washington to spend a weekend with Tom where we see how strained their relationship has become. Tom's needs and selfishness now grate on Polly, while her smothering desire to "help" him drives him away. It's a marriage where no one is all right or all wrong, but you know it's on the rocks. Another big blow comes when Polly learns that Tom has been having an affair.

    And as Polly learns, it is not a fling, but a long-term relationship where - and this crushes Polly - Tom finds comfort in a frumpy secretary who idolizes him. Simultaneously, Polly runs into her former fiancé, the now-married Bob Tasmin, an Army planner based in Washington.

    A decade after she broke their engagement, Polly now sees Bob's quiet, inherent decency and character as qualities she too casually dismissed years ago for Tom's fiery passion and needy personality. But as Bob tells her, she needed to marry Tom for herself even if her marriage is failing and even if, and here Polly takes another blow, she's at fault for smothering Tom in her world of luxury, which undermined Tom's sense of self worth.

    That's a lot for Polly to unpack as she decides whether to fight for her marriage or move on. And we'll leave that outcome for those who want to read the book. But what about the girl on the yacht and do we care? Author Marquand argues we should, but you'll have to decide for yourself if the problems of this not-her-fault spoiled rich girl struggling with life, but always having a safety net of money to fall back into, are worth caring about.


    N.B., I found my way to the book via the movie version of B.F.'s Daughter (comments here: #27865), which, owing to the Motion Picture Production Code, changed or palliated so much of the story that I sought out the book knowing there had to be a better story buried under the movie's limitations - and there was. And both the well-written book and engaging movie are a fun enough time capsule of a small slice of the '30s and '40s to be worth the effort.
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  10. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,083
    Location:
    New York City
    Mouse hc.jpg
    The Mouse in the Mountain by Nobert Davis first published in 1943

    At one-hundred-and-fifty not-dense pages, this "hard-boiled" detective fiction packs a lot of story, character development, action and dog into its crisply told tale.

    Chubby and affable private detective Doan and his small-horse-sized Great Dane Carstairs are staying at a tourist hotel in Mexico in 1943. Why, we don't know, but the immediate goal is for Doan - with Carstairs, naturally - and several of the "tourists" to take a day trip to the remote village of Los Altos.

    Shepherded by their Mexican bus driver and tour guide - and his syntax-challenged English - the trip begins hesitantly as the rag-tag collection of tourists amble onto the bus. An arguing father-mother-daughter American family debate going, while a young and attractive heiress with her swarthy gigolo and ancient maid pretentiously board. Thrown into this mix is a young, cute school teacher who fell in love with the history of Mexico and Los Altos from her studies, and off we go.

    After an arduous trip, the group arrives in the village where Doan has to immediately shoot an armed man seemingly attacking the group as they alight from the bus. From here, their time spent in Los Altos - extended owing to an earthquake collapsing the one access and egress bridge - is one of murders, police arrests and, seemingly, random violence amidst many clues but mainly confusion.

    Smart readers will probably pick up the tells along the way, but most readers (like this one) will just let the story unfold having realized early on that they aren't going to figure it out ahead of time. It's a complex tale that weaves in three centuries of Mexican history, Nazis, drug dealers, the mob, American political corruption, local intrigue, power struggles, art forgery and family feuds. As noted, a lot of story is packed into this short book.

    And while the impressively complex but tight (when revealed at the end) plot is engaging, the book's charm comes from its quirky and nuanced characters led by Doan. Short, stocky and mildly pleasant looking, this seemingly amiable and effacing man has a searing wit and preternatural ability to cut through lies and connect disparate clues. This brings no end of frustration to the Mexican police trying to sweep unpleasant facts under the rug while pinning the blame for every murder and theft on Doan.

    In addition to Doan's cerebral talents, he has surprisingly quick reflexes and masterful skills with guns, knives and other random weapons. And helping him at every turn is languid, but whip-smart Carstairs who seems to know when action is needed or when Doan is going to drink too much, of which Carstairs deeply but ineffectively disapproves.

    As in any good detective story, few of the characters are who they first appear to be - the arguing American family being the exception - as secrets are revealed and true personalities and pasts are exposed. And the story takes so many twists and turns that you're proud just to be keeping up. But the book's joy comes from its humanity - driven by a chubby detective with a personal morality that might not exactly align to your or my values, but that you respect for its consistent application. Plus you have to love his loyal but criticizing dog.

    The Mouse in the Mountain does not rise above its hard-boiled-detective genre, but it is an outstanding entry in this noirish corner of literature. And the really good news, it's one in a series of four Donan and Carstairs novels.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  11. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
  12. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,729
    Location:
    Chicago, IL US
    My brother-in-law is reading Peter Strzok's Russiagate memoir, Compromised and a quick scan of its jacket revealed the core thesis as mere supposition devoid of factual foundation; however flawed Compromised is inside baseball, so I asked to borrow Strzok for a few hours fast read and dead reckon legal analysis. Crim was my favorite subject in law school and between tidbits leaked out and rumor unbound I suspect conspiracy rules truth therein gate.

    Soviet intelligence once penetrated my US Army advisory group in Greece, with two enlisted men having been found turned toward Moscow-these twin fools were transferred to federal penitentiary hold at Leavenworth, Kansas; and a Magi was ordered convened in Thessaloniki shortly thereafter. Three wise men: Army Intelligence, CIA, and FBI flew in with a Criminal Investigative agent presumably along for the ride to hold the camels; a briefing on incident, correction, and counter followed with other more
    unpleasant issues best left inside my memory.
    Greece was in chaos, the Colonels junta had collapsed and civil rule waited succession while her armed forces divided, and indigenous terror rampant. 'Christians in Action' ran the show.
    We would continue an off duty nightly presence in Thessalonikki's bars, nightclubs, dives,
    and discos, and, if any enemy contact or overture happened, we would be receptive.
    Athens would assign CIA case officer control. At the end, CIA waved about a thin file with
    nude photos of Yasser Arafat's new boyfriend.... a bit of gallows humor.

    The tradecraft is often compared to chess but in my years around the game it seemed more stud poker. High stakes stud, strictly pro, and expertly dealt off an ice cold deck.
    Russia would pay for information, and she would also torture and kill for it.

    Strzok investigated Hillary Clinton's email scandal, code named Mid Year Exam. A rising star at the FBI he was an associate deputy Director for Counter Intelligence until private emails sent to an adulterous lover surfaced, revealing his innate bias against Donald Trump, yet more poignantly displaying a dullard intellect. As Emerson wryly observed, when you shoot at a king you must kill him. Cashiered and embittered, Strzok scribbled a venal vindictive.

    Russiagate has moved away from centerstage to an obscure wing awaiting release of the Barr and Durham reports. However, the conspiracy within will probably not be subject to full prosecution for a variety of reasons-though mainly because it is far too large.
    Hillary Clinton peddled future presidential favor for millions; ostensibly to the Clinton Foundation, a charity no less, and her State Department email server was kept unsecure
    to avoid federal Freedom of Information Act solicit. President Obama knew this and used
    an alias when contacting her. The Yellow Brick Road foreclosed any criminal prosecution.

    Director Comey, Strzok, President Obama, VP Biden, Atty General Yates, Susan Rice;
    the last sending an email to herself for legal cover. And they knew Clinton's campaign had purchased the bogus Steele dossier, and Moscow knew everything. Later, the Mueller investigation would blindly ignore the dossier and search for a crime that had never been committed. Strzok keeps to the lie. He remains me of the Tinman from Oz, caught in a rain,holding an axe.
    Perhaps Strzok will come to his senses and put the grind axe down.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
    Fading Fast likes this.
  13. DesertDan

    DesertDan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Arizona
  14. DesertDan

    DesertDan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Arizona
    That is very cool Melissa, Congrats on getting published.
    I bought your book (Kindle edition) I look forward to reading it.
     
  15. GJ nord

    GJ nord Familiar Face

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Jockland
    'The Dispatch riders' by Percy F Westerman c1935 s-l1600 (4).jpg
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  16. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,818
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Thank you so very much!!!
     
  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,083
    Location:
    New York City
    forever-and-a-day-uk-paperback.jpg
    Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz published in 2018

    Apparently (I Googled it), there are forty "officially licensed" James Bond books: the first fourteen by Ian Fleming and the rest by reasonably well-known authors. I had already read a couple of the more recent efforts, Devil May Care by Sebastain Faulks and Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz, and found them entertaining but somewhat uninspired. So, it was with modest expectations that I gave Horowtiz's more-recent attempt, Forever and a Day, a try.

    I was nicely surprised. Set in the early fifties, the book opens by showing how James Bond became a Double-0 agent. Not being steeped in all the Bond lore, I don't know if this is consistent with the Bond canon, but it's fascinating to see the process at MI6 for how an agent gets elevated to the esteemed and rarefied position of Double-0. Horowitz handles it very well even taking us through Bond's first day on the new job and his first meeting with M as a Double-0. Oh, and we learn how Bond got the actual 007 number.

    After all that fun inside-Bond stuff - including his first time bantering with Moneypenny - the story takes a more predictable path as it must, but Horowitz continues to personalize Bond. In his first assignment as a Double-0, we see a "rookie" Bond investigating the murder of a Double-0 agent (Bond's his replacement) that took place on the southern coast of France.

    But instead of outsized action-adventure sequences at the start, we see Bond more as a smart detective following the former path of the murdered agent and hunting down small clues. It's been awhile since I've read any of the original Fleming books, but from memory, it felt more like those where the story built up logically and, somewhat, believably.

    And as other characters are introduced, a not-Felix-Leiter CIA agent and a mysterious female agent provocateur, Madame 16, Bond's relationships develop naturally. In a wonderful casino scene - which, in the acknowledgments, Horowitz admits he cribbed from Fleming's notes for a TV script - Bond "meets" Madame 16 when he disrupts her elaborate efforts to win at blackjack - vingt-et-un in France.

    Here, too, less is more as the stakes are high but not insane, Bond's actions clever but subtle and Madame 16's response controlled and studied. Neither we nor Bond yet know if she'll be friend or foe. However, from that tense game and Bond and Madame 16's ensuing conversation over drinks, we learn that she is a professional and experienced "freelance" spy and, of course, alluring. It's a classic Bond casino story, but it felt smart and fresh owing to the thoughtful and original details as Horowitz channeled Fleming.

    From here, the story continues along the established Bond arc, but it never loses its personalized and natural feel. I'll try to avoid most spoilers even though it's not as if you don't know the outcome of a Bond book before you open it. As his investigation advances, Bond faces off against a Corsica drug kingpin - a glandularly damage man of prodigious fat and muscle - who has somehow teamed up with an apparently legitimate American businessman in the photographic film business to do something big, but what?

    Mainly taking place on the southern coast of France, Bond and, eventually, in an uncertain partnership, Madame 16, follow clues to a massive chemical factory, the American businessman's mansion, a heavily guarded and deep-in-the-woods film factory and finally to a huge, new, state-of-the-art cruise ship. All these are traditional Bond venues that allow for a standard mix of espionage, nerve-racking tête-à-têtes, glamour, drinks, sex and plenty of action adventure.

    Along the way, Bond is captured, tortured, escapes, kills a bunch of henchmen, is captured again, tortured again, kills again and, then, with Madame16 (and yes, he eventually sleeps with her) makes a last-ditch desperate attempt to thwart the villains' plan, which includes flooding the US street drug market with cheap heroine. Basically, it's Bond by the numbers at this point - as it has to be. But Horowitz keeps the "scale" of the plot and Bond's ability to prevent it almost believable versus the movie's always-go-bigger ethos.

    Even the de rigueur final confrontation-and-twist scene is handled with nuance and a reasonable amount of verisimilitude versus having Bond morph into a superhero. To be sure, throughout, you need to suspend reality here and there, but like those early Fleming books and Bond movies, you can almost kid yourself that it was all possible.

    A big part of why it works is because it takes place in the '50s, a time tailor made for a single spy like Bond to take on megalomaniacal villains as the technology of the day hadn't eclipsed the ability of one man to master and employ it. If those in control of the Bond franchise want to expand its market, they could bifurcate the movies into, yes, continuing with the modern ones, but also launching a series of period-Bond movies set in the '50s. Horowitz's book would be an excellent jumping off point for those early Bond-movie efforts.
     
    Touchofevil likes this.
  18. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,729
    Location:
    Chicago, IL US
    Begin Again, James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, Eddie S. Glaude Jr

    Rebecca Meade's nostalgic My Life in Middlemarch may have served as literary template
    for this paean, providing a reference chronology of Baldwin's autobiographical gimlet-eyed
    expatriate angst to shuttle Glaude's rather warped skewered scholarship.

    Aristotle opined in Posterior Analytica that it was the geometer's concern to know that circular
    wounds heal more slowly, and that of the physician to understand the reason(s) why this is so.
    Racism and hatred are pernicious evils attendant to human nature; yet neither need be taken
    as the cumulative sum of human nature, nor the sole possession of the Caucasian race.
    Glaude, a Princeton prof needs publish or perish; perhaps not, but some balance is sorely needed.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  19. 52Styleline

    52Styleline A-List Customer

    Messages:
    318
    Location:
    SW WA
    I am just starting to read They were Soldiers by Joseph L. Galloway.
    It profiles forty eight who served during the war, Their war experiences, the responses they received upon returning home, and the astonishing contributions they made in the following years.
     
  20. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,729
    Location:
    Chicago, IL US
    Donald Trump v. The United States, Michael Schmidt

    Schmidt garnered two Pulitzers, writes for the New York Times, and tried his hand at Russiagate.
    Problem was the truth kept getting in the way. DT v US isn't All The President's Men or The Palace Guard,
    not by a long shot but the gumshoe reporter stuff ain't bad. Not great but not bad. Too bad Schmidt
    went kick-the=dog instead of tackling the real inside baseball. Too many excuses for too many and ya
    can't play the reporter game without putting yore ass on the line. Reminds me of a Ranger instructor's
    remarking "sometimes you are the hare; sometimes you are the hound; and, sometimes you'll think
    you're the hound but you are really the hare."
    Schmidt thinks he's a hound but really he's a scared
    little rabbit nibbling the lettuce and not going for the truth bite. A doggone shame.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.