THE SQUARE PEGS by Irving Wallace


Email this review


The biographical examination of American eccentricity rendered here may be categorized under C for Curiosa. Through nine people, chosen for their incongruity of dress, mannerisms, ideas and general behavior, we are reminded that America is not without its oddball types -- an index, claims Mr. Wallace, of a healthy and spacious freedom. Each portrait begins with a sketch of the eccentricity in question and is followed by general biographical data highlighting pertinent people and places, cohorts and collaborators. The announcement that the earth is flat by Mr. Voliva may be challenged with John Cleves Symmes' Theory of Concentric Circles. James Harden-Hicky, who proclaimed himself the monarch of Trinidad, would not have thought Joshua Norton, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, the least bit strange...and the hoydenish Victoria Woodhull, aided by Commodore Vanderbilt himself, would certainly have applauded Edward Montagu's promiscuities with wives and religions. Others included here -- a staunch enemy of Shakespeare, the real Phineas Fogg, an anti-punctuationist- have equally amusing claims. Mr. Wallace is the author of The Fabulous Originals, another book about square pegs.

Publisher: Knopf