With the panache of a seasoned sportswriter, former New Yorker editor Conley (Stud: Adventures in Breeding, 2002) takes readers through the action sequences and behind the scenes into the lives of the world’s legendary stunt professionals.
Most viewers have seen only their backs as they flip cars, screech brakes, fall from bridges or bolt through walls of flame. Conley shows us their faces, fears, flubs and passions. Gone are the Keystone Kops days when Hollywood’s rowdy gag masters (a “gag” is what they call the dangerous stuff) were recruited from rodeos and the circus, winged it on the set and paid the price with frequent trips to the hospital. Generations later, in the age of extreme sports, high-tech action and professional stunt elitism, the grandsons and daughters of the originals carry on. Hanging out with well-known stuntpeople like Ronnie Rondell, Jeff Galpin, Mike Kirton and Debbie Evans, among many others, Conley extracts the stories behind Hollywood’s most celebrated gags from the industry’s most prominent adrenaline addicts. On the sets of The Bourne Supremacy, Tarantino’s Death Proof and The Dukes of Hazzard movie, he tracks down trends and learns how old-school players adjust to the times. In breezy, conversational prose, the author casually fuses a good measure of history with after-shoot barstool shoptalk from the legends. He even includes a hands-on chapter with a step-by-step lesson in how to perform spinouts à la The Italian Job in the comfort of one’s own cul-de-sac. Not content with mere observation or interviews with directors, actors, coordinators and career stuntmen, Conley goes for active participation. At one point, he gets himself soaked head-to-toe with gasoline and set aflame just to earn the book’s title, giving an all-new meaning to the term “immersion journalism.” Despite the temptation to glorify, his account remains levelheaded and evenhanded.
An exhaustive survey that glows with insider/outsider appeal.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)