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Reprint, Winter 1983

ISSUE:  Winter 1983

American cities and communities come under close and comprehensive scrutiny in four recent reprints. They are, respectively: E. Digby Baltzell’s Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, which historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called “a significant illumination of our contemporary crisis of leadership” [Beacon Press $11.95 paper]; James Borchert’s Alley Life in Washington: Family, Community, Religion and Folklife in the City, 1859—1970, which one reviewer recommended to “anyone in the adult reading audience interested in urban America” [Illinois, “Blacks in the New World” series, $8.95 paper]; Thomas Bender’s Community and Social Change in America, a work deemed “graceful and intelligent throughout” by the American Historical Review [Johns Hopkins $5.95 paper]; and Oliver P. Williams and Charles R. Adrian’s Four Cities: A Study in Comparative Policy Making, an analysis of the political process in four middle-sized American cities 1948—57 [Pennsylvania $10.00 cloth]. The question “Why” is raised by two new paperbacks, each examining recent developments affecting the American people. The first is Why Viet Nam? Prelude to America’s Albatross in which Archimedes L. A. Patti, former head of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services’ Indochina Mission in the 1940’s, describes the U.S. involvement in the years 1940—54 when the French were dominant, a book considered “an indispensable source for the historian” by The New York Times [California $19.50 cloth, $10.95 paper]. Then there is Marvin Harris’s America Now: The Anthropology of a Changing Culture, in which the author raises such questions as “why nothing works, why the help won’t help you, why the women left home, why the dollar shrank, and why there’s terror in the streets,” a study Time regarded as “a thought-provoking vision of American Culture as a system” [Touchstone Books $4.95]. Doubleday has published a new cloth edition (the fifth) of David C. Whitney’s The American Presidents, containing biographies of the chief executives from Washington through Reagan [$14.95]. The economic policies of our current president receive a caustic critique in Robert Lekachman’s Greed Is Not Enough: Reaganomics, with Lekachman concluding the policies constitute a true God that failed [Pantheon Books $3.50]. Published originally 50 years ago and considered a classic analysis of the two principal generals of America’s Civil War, Maj. Gen. J. F. C. Fuller’s Grant and Lee: A Study in Personality and Generalship has been reprinted by Indiana [$25.00 cloth, $10.95 paper]. Bison Books is offering a paperback edition of Wallace Stegner’s Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West, with an introduction by Bernard De Voto [$12.50], Johns Hopkins has come out with a paperback edition of Jack N. Rakove’s The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretative History of the Continental Congress, which historian J. R. Pole considered “the most convincing account of the general history of the Continental Congress yet written” [$8.95]. An additional Pantheon reprint is Edwin R. Bayley’s Joe McCarthy and the Press, deemed by Publishers Weekly as “a vivid portrait of McCarthy as a master newsmanipulator” [$6.95]. Among recent Touchstone Books are these: Joseph A. Califano, Jr. ‘s Governing America: An Insider’s Report from the White House and the Cabinet [$8.95] and Joanna L. Stratton’s Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier [also $8.95].


When Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce was first published in 1959, it was greeted by accolades of acclaim. “The best literary biography of our time,” declared Hudson Review critic Robert Martin Adams; “here is the definitive work . . .a model for future scholarly biographies,” said New Yorker critic Dwight MacDonald; “the whole is itself a work of art,” wrote New York Herald Tribune reviewer John K. Hutchens. Winner of the 1959 National Book Award, Ellman’s biography of the great Irish writer has now been revised and expanded in the first new edition of a work now considered a classic [Oxford $35.00 cloth]. Another highly acclaimed biography, the first major biography of a major American poet, is Paul Mariani’s William Carlos Williams: A New World Naked, which The Los Angeles Times found to be “a work of real love and literacy intelligence” [McGraw-Hill Paperbacks $12.92]. Williams himself was the author of Yes, Mrs. Williams: A Personal Record of My Mother, recently reissued as a New Directions Paperbook [$5.95]. The three men generally regarded as the greatest American novelists of the 20th century are each the subject of paperback editions now on the market. The first is Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, 1917—1961, edited by Carlos Baker [Scribner’s $12.95]; the second is Andrew Turnbull’s Scott Fitzgerald, originally published in 1962 [also Scribner’s $7.95]; and the third is David Minter’s William Faulkner: His Life and Work, a work currently in its fourth edition [Johns Hopkins $17.50 cloth, $7.95 paper]. Among the new Beacon Press paperbacks are Donald Woods’ Asking for Trouble: The Education of a White African, an account of a South African journalist’s war against apartheid [$9.50], and Carol Ascher’s Simone de Beauvoir: A Life of Freedom, a biography of the eminent French feminist and intellectual [$7.25], Called “the year’s happiest literary event” by the Chicago Sun-Times when first published, The Selected Letters of Lewis Carroll, edited by Morton N. Cohen, are now available in paperback [Pantheon Books $7.95]. Written as he was dying of cancer, The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant has long ranked among the great autobiographies of generals and statesmen and, thanks to Da Capo Press, has reappeared in paperback, with a new introduction by Grant biographer William S. McFeely [$10.95].


John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga is perhaps best known among American audiences for a memorable PBS television series, even though it is generally acknowledged as one of the enduring literary works of this century. It now endures in the Scribner Library of Contemporary Classics [$12.95 paper]. One of the first writers of the Southern renascence, Elizabeth Madox Roberts published her first novel, The Time of Man, a story set against the background of the rural South, in 1926. Kentucky is offering a new edition of the novel, with introductions by William Slavick and Robert Penn Warren [$23.00 cloth, $9.00 paper], Elizabeth Hardwick’s second novel, The Simple Truth, involving a murder trial in a small Iowa town, has been reprinted by Ecco Press [$12.95 cloth].


In the 14 years before her death in 1974, Anne Sexton published ten books of poetry and won the 1967 Pulitzer Prize. Those volumes have now been collected and edited into one by her daughter, Linda Gray Sexton, and published in paperback by Houghton Mifflin, with an introduction by Maxine Kumin, under the title. The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton [$9.95]. McGraw-Hill is offering the first, complete paperback edition of The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser [$9.95]. The lastest additions to Yale’s “The English Poets” series are Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, edited by J. A. Burrow [$15.00 cloth, $4.95 paper], and Lord Byron: Don Juan, edited by T, G. Steffan, E. Steffan, and W. W. Pratt [$25.00 cloth, $8.95 paper]. California has published a paperback edition of Thomas Parkinson’s Hart Crane and Ivor Winters: Their Literary Correspondence [$6.95].


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