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Reprint, Autumn 1981

ISSUE:  Autumn 1981

Often called “a reporter’s reporter,” A.J. Liebling was one of the brightest stars in The New Yorker firmament, and his journalism, unlike most, does not grow stale with age. It retains a sense of immediacy and timeliness long after the events it describes have passed into history. The proof of this can be found in a new edition of the books Joe Liebling produced about Europe during and after World War II. Entitled Liebling Abroad, the new Wideview Books paperback contains “four complete classics in one volume”: The Road Back to Paris, Mollie & Other War Pieces, Normandy Revisited, and Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris [$11.95]. Another New Yorker writer, Lillian Ross, has put together a collection of seven of her more famous essays, including a renowned and controversial piece about Ernest Hemingway, and they were recently published by Dodd, Mead under the title Reporting [$12.95 cloth, $8.95 paper]. Harper & Row has brought out a revised and updated hardcover edition of Robert Leckie’s The Wars of America, “a comprehensive narrative from Champlain’s first campaign against the Iroquois through the end of the Vietnam War” [$29.95]. James A. Nathan and James K. Oliver’s United States Foreign Policy and World Order, an analytical yet chronological discussion of the U.S. world role since 1945, is now available in a second paperback edition from Little, Brown [$10.95]. The American West is the subject of three recent paperbacks from Bison Books, their respective authors and titles being Marshall Sprague’s The Great Gates; The Story of the Rocky Mountain Passes [$8.50], Robert M. Utley’s Frontiersmen in Blue: The United States Army and the Indian, 1848—1865 [$9.95], and Rex Alan Smith’s Moon of Popping Trees; The Tragedy at Wounded Knee and the End of the Indian Wars [$4.95]. Recent Illinois paperbacks include David M. Katzman’s Seven Days a Week; Women and Domestic Service in Industralizing America [$8.95], David Montgomery’s Beyond Equality: Labor and the Radical Republicans, 1862—1872 [$9.95], Américo Paredes’ A Texas-Mexican Cancionero: Folksongs of the Lower Border [$7.95], and Todd L. Savitt’s Medicine and Slavery: The Diseases and Health Care of Blacks in Antebellum Virginia [$7.50]. A revised edition of Neal Peirce and Lawrence Longley’s The People’s President: The Electoral College in American History and the Direct Vote Alternative has been issued by Yale [$40.00 cloth, $9.95 paper]. Anthony Summers’ Conspiracy, yet another examination and/ or revelation about the Kennedy assassination, is now out as a McGraw-Hill paperback [$7.95].


When Louisiana published the original edition of a novel by an unknown author who committed suicide in 1969 at age 32, few could have foreseen that John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces was not only destined to be a coast-to-coast best seller but a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize as well. The hilarious tale about the tirades and tribulations of Ignatius J. Reilly has also proved to be a runaway best seller in paperback for Grove Press [$3.50]. Novelist Mary Lee Settle won the National Book Award for Blood Tie, a work set in Turkey, but her most ambitious fictional undertaking is the Beulah Quintet, a series of novels ranging from the English Civil War to the present. Ballantine Books is bringing out a paperback edition of the series, with an introduction by Roger Shattuck, and has thus far published Prisons, based on a true incident in the struggle between Puritans and Cavaliers, and O Beulah Land, a novel set in Ms. Settle’s native West Virginia on the eve of the American Revolution [$3.50 each]. J.R. Ackerley’s We Think the World of You, which its author called a “fairy story for adults,” came out in England in 1960, but its appearance in America occurred only recently with the publication of a Creative Arts Book paperback [$5.95]. Elisabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights, which The New York Times called a “miraculous and almost perfect” novel, is a recent Vintage Book [$2.50]. Northpoint Press is offering a paperback edition of Ernest J. Games’ Catherine Carmier, a novel by the author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman set in the plantation country of Louisiana and originally published in 1964 [$6.50]. New Bantam Books include Catherine Gaskin’s A Falcon for a Queen, a saga of Scotland [$2.50], and A. Alvarez’s Hunt, a psychological thriller [$2.75].


Masterpiece Theatre introduced British writer Vera Brittain to a mass American audience last winter with a television adaptation of her experiences in World War I, her Testament of Youth. For those who would like to read that testament in full, Wideview Books has published a paperback edition of the World War I volume as well as the two sequels to it, each volume introduced by Columbia University English Literature Professor Carolyn G. Heilbrun [$7.95 each]. The two sequels to Testament of Youth are, respectively: Testament of Friendship, in which Vera Brittain tells the story of the woman who helped her survive her losses of World War I (her lover, her brother, her closest friends), the writer Winifred Holtby, a victim of Bright’s disease at the untimely age of 37; and Testament of Experience, in which the tragedies and triumphs of the Depression, the gathering storm of World War II, and the war itself are recalled. In sum, the three volumes are a testament to a woman as remarkable as the turbulent and terrible times through which she suffered and endured and prevailed. Another survivor of those times is Rafael Alberti, a Spanish poet who went into self-imposed exile after the defeat of the Spanish Republic in 1939. Twenty years later, he published La arboleda perdida, or The Lost Grove, his autobiography. The first English edition of Alberti’s autobiography appeared in 1976, just one year before he and his wife, Maria Teresa Léon, returned to Spain. Translated by Gabriel Berns, this edition has been reprinted as a California paperback and offers a poignant portrait of a Spain long gone with the wind [$5.95; also available in cloth, $14.95].


Considered by some to be America’s foremost literary critic, R.P. Blackmur published Language As Gesture; Essays in Poetry, essays on poets ranging from Ezra Pound to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in 1952. A new paperback edition has been published by Columbia, which contemporary critic Edward W. Said deems “a major event for students of poetry and critical theory” [$8.50]. by Vintage Books. They are The Tale Bearers: English and American Writers and The Myth Makers: European and Latin American Writers [$4.95 each]. California has reprinted an expanded paperback edition of Robert Greer Cohn’s Toward the Poems of Mallarmé, [$6.95].


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