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Memoirs--by the author of several travel books, a biography of Jefferson Davis and literary miscellanea, Professor Emeritus of the University of Alabama and general gadabout--covering the years from his birth in 1892 through WW II. Secure in an old-family Southern background, and propelled by what seems to have been inexhaustible energy, Strode plunged early on into his first loves--literature and the theatre--and somehow always managed to land on his feet among the great and the famous. From the time when as a Columbia student he was an extra in Hamlet on the stage with leading Shakespearean actor Forbes-Robertson, Strode, whose charm and skill in arresting beautiful people in mid-flight must have been formidable, met and interviewed, or was entertained by, everyone who was anyone. Zelda at a hoydenish sixteen gave Strode the once over; Edna Ferber, also a guest of the George Kaufmans, offered him $1,000 to ""rest his eyes""; and Strode appreciated Mencken's interest in ""heritage and breeding."" He successfully pursued O'Neill and Hemingway, Stein and H. G. Wells (whom he enjoyed in spite of the ""'lower middle class origins' on his face like a map""). And there were chums Lord and Lady Astor, the King of Sweden, Sigrid Undset, etc. etc.etc. A massive name-drop (the interview material here is rather thin) but this may prove to be an ingratiating record for students of, or participants in, those '20's and '30's circles of good talk and fascinating people.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1975
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich