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This is the most extensive biography of Damon Runyon that has appeared to date and there is little likelihood that there will be another. The author has evidently read everything that Runyon ever wrote -- a tremendous undertaking, for this was a daily newspaper man from boyhood to the end of his days, as well as an occasional poet, successful short story writer and scenarist. Tracing the career that began in Colorado Springs and which moved erratically forward all over the West before the man who was to become Mr. Broadway came to New York, Hoyt champions Runyon as one of the great original writers in American Literature. He berates the critics who ignore Runyon's work and he took a depressing survey of college writing courses only to find that one lonely professor was mentioning Runyon. Few readers will be convinced of Runyon's greatness on the basis of the examples given. However, no one can deny Runyon's stature as a working journalist. His output and the quality of the work he produced under the pressure of continuous deadlines is proved in the long passages from old sports, features and personal columns. The tragic family life of this man, so communicative in print, so reserved with people, is underscored by the story of his last days -- throat cancer left him without speech and his own nature left him without contact from his near relatives. Because of the lengthy excerpts, the book makes extremely uneven reading. But it must be remembered that the presence of Run-yon's column sold newspapers, and this might just take fire from an old audience.

Publisher: ittle, Brown