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THE DEEP END

THE LITERARY SCENE IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND TODAY

A passionate homage to forgotten writers who speak to our own times.

For writers of the 1930s, economic hardship was central to their work.

Journalist Boog, West Coast correspondent for Publishers Weekly, combines personal reflections about the challenges writers face today with a well-researched, sometimes digressive look back at writers of the “Crisis Generation,” who struggled during the Great Depression. “My book is dedicated to the stories of poets, novelists, and journalists who never made it” but whose dedication to telling stories of the downtrodden makes them worth remembering. They include poets Maxwell Bodenheim, Kenneth Fearing, and Muriel Rukeyser (“systematically excluded” from the poetry academy, according to Adrienne Rich); Cornell Woolrich, “grandfather of the hardboiled noir”; and Nathanael West, whose Miss Lonelyhearts had paltry sales when it was first published only to be acclaimed 50 years later, long after West died. The writers of the Crisis Generation identified with “workers of all kinds,” marching with them for jobs and fair pay. Unlike writers today, who Boog claims are “unorganized, broke, and easily manipulated,” those of the Crisis Generation saw themselves as activists, responding to and bearing witness to life in the 1930s. Many were given jobs through the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration; others supported one another through organizations such as the Raven Poetry Circle, which became a “home for struggling readers and writers,” and the American Writers Union, which lobbied for writers’ rights. “The writers in the 1930s,” notes Boog, “forced newspapers to pay a living wage, pushed publishers to establish more humane working conditions, rewrote the way books were sold in department stores, and convinced the government to create a federal bailout that put thousands of writers around the country back to work.” The author sees the Sunrise Movement, supporter of the Green New Deal, as a model for activism in “a world of inequality and catastrophe;” and he urges writers—and readers—to “rekindle the radical ideas” that distinguished the Crisis Generation.

A passionate homage to forgotten writers who speak to our own times.

Pub Date: July 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-935928-91-1

Page Count: 232

Publisher: OR Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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