Books by Kevin Coyne

Released: Feb. 10, 2003

"A notable achievement in understanding as well as reporting that pays moving tribute to the men and their town."
Journalist Coyne (Domers: A Year at Notre Dame, 1995, etc.) won the first J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award in 1999 for this thoughtful account of six young men who went to war, came back home, and then had to adjust to new challenges. Read full book review >
DOMERS by Kevin Coyne
Released: Sept. 28, 1995

From freshman orientation to graduation ceremonies for Notre Dame's Class of '93, Coyne (A Day in the Night of America, 1992) presents a lavishly detailed, day-to-day look at a year under the shadow of the Dome. The school kicked off its sesquicentennial year by welcoming 1,882 freshman, who represented the top 10% of their high school classes. Coyne attended lectures, classes, meetings, parties, rallies, and, of course, football games. Inescapably, a Notre Dame school year revolves around the legendary football program and the ``tightly scripted extravaganzas'' of game weekends. But it's not all football and rah-rah at ol' Notre Dame. Coyne follows the exploits of several students from Keenan Hall, including freshman roommates Patrick Lyons and Steve Sabo, and their live-in rector, Bonaventure Scully. The dorm's annual revue would feature doo-wop singers and skits that, ``like most college humor, tended toward the outer limits of good taste.'' There's also Rachel Stehle, a trumpeter with the marching band; Lou Blaum, a senior member of the vaunted Irish Guard, the kilted corps that leads the band into the stadium; Claire Johnson, co-president of a campus anti-abortion group; Chris Setti, a leader of the minority College Democrats, and Joe Carrigan, a boxer favored to win the 150-pound division of the school's annual Bengal Bouts. Coyne also spends time with school president Edward ``Monk'' Malloy and Father Bob Derby, a revered history professor who swears he'll ``die with a piece of chalk in [his] hand,'' and takes a look back at the late Frank O'Malley, ``Notre Dame's Mr. Chips'' and the rare layman buried in the Holy Cross cemetery. Overall looms the Knute Rockne legend, whose influence was felt in 1992 upon the death of longtime athletic director Moose Krause, who first came to Notre Dame in 1931 at Rockne's urging. Coyne captures the spirit and tradition of this unique institution and penetrates the glow of the golden dome with an objective look at the academic, political, and social life of its people. (First printing of 50,000; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour) Read full book review >
SHOW BUSINESS by Kevin Coyne
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Musicians rail against Tin Pan Alley in this pungent collection of short pieces, average length one to three pages, from longtime British recording artist Coyne (author of an earlier collection, The Party Dress, 1991—not reviewed). To be sure, not all the monologues and sketches involve musicians—a spirited Ezra Pound fulminates in his Italian cell; an Englishman called Kevin turns into a sausage (it beats being a laid-off farmworker)—but the musicians predominate and give the collection its distinctive flavor. The main targets are talentless, drug-ravaged superstars, the hard-driving tour managers, and the corrupt producers and executives doing the packaging. The star who's been marketed as an angry rebel has always toed the company line; the reclusive ``living legend'' readying himself for a comeback is a journalistic invention, a burnt-out case; and the hip producer who's proclaimed ``a new universe of total vibes'' pulls a knife on an executive. But not all the book is bile. Coyne is attuned to the jaunty whistling in the dark of guys figuring how to ride the next wave: Ronnie ``almost crept into the top fifty twelve years ago'' and sees a future for himself in the return of romantic ballads; a veteran of punishing road tours confides, ``I want to rock till I drop.'' And in the longest piece, Coyne vaults gracefully into fantasy with an affectionate salute to some departed icons relaxing at ``the great bar in the sky'': Janis Joplin marries Sid Vicious (``Janis will regret it. It must be a post-acid trauma,'' comments Jim Morrison), while Bessie Smith falls for Jimi Hendrix. Entertainment with an appropriate touch of savagery. Next time you're standing on line for a concert, this book would make the ideal companion. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

Attention all 28 million Americans awake and working after midnight: This book's for you. To complete his Studs Terkel-ish collection of stories about night workers from Tampa Bay to Alaska, Massachusetts journalist Coyne traveled over 18,000 miles and amassed interviews with 429 nocturnal souls, seeking to support his thesis that having ``run out of geographic frontiers to colonize...we are colonizing a new frontier of time.'' Coyne has organized his material cleverly: His tales appear as if collected all in one night, beginning at 12 a.m. aboard a fishing boat in Massachusetts Bay, where we learn about net repairs and the Russian market for herring. Along the way, night workers' motives are elucidated. Some, like the check processor at a bank in Boston with five kids and an elderly father to care for, choose the graveyard shift because it frees them to attend to personal responsibilities during the day. Others make slightly better wages when the stars are out, while others still, like a Land's End order-taker in Wisconsin, just feel out-of-sync with daytime hours. Unsurprising and ho-hum occupations are represented aplenty, particularly those of late-night talk-show hosts, cable-news anchormen, postal workers, and convenience-store operators. More interesting are the thoughts of an alligator catcher in Florida, proud bakers in Sioux City, and homeless-shelter administrators in Chicago. Best of all are the night owls in the city that really never sleeps, Las Vegas, where we hear from the owner of the Little White Chapel (who's performed 500,000 weddings in 30 years), from prostitutes, and from card-dealers. In the end, some jobs are just more worth reading about than others, regardless of when they're performed—which makes about half this book worth staying up for and the other half relief from insomnia. Read full book review >