The author's preface to a collection of Maugham's stories is included in this group of essays and in it he makes the distinction between the writer as craftsman and the writer as artist. Weidman himself belongs to the first category-- with no denigration meant. It's no surprise then that most of these pieces first had a home in the big slicks-- Holiday, Sports Illustrated, etc. He writes with a deceptive facility-- it's harder than it looks. His subject matter is diverse but his essays on New York City, Connecticut and the Bronx are particularly outstanding. He has captured a special feeling about Manhattan on paper-- no mean feat when this is made up of a pulse, sights, sounds and irritations. His residence in Fairfield County revealed Connecticut's ability to make all its citizens into New England Yankees and no one has ever communicated this phenomenon better. His discussion of the neglected Bronx (and why it is) is too true to be funny. A nationally popular writer with a strong pull toward a local market in this.