Largely apocryphal and hardly scholarly, but a lot of fun.

BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN

WRITERS RUNNING WILD IN THE TWENTIES

A snappy, anecdotal tale of the writerly Jazz Age ladies—Fitzgerald, Millay, Parker, and Ferber—and the men who adored them.

Hard to believe there's anything new to learn about the celebrated writers in the tap-happy ’20s, but veteran celebrity biographer Meade (The Unruly Life of Woody Allen, 2000, etc.), her eye ever on the swinging detail, manages to scrounge a fresh tidbit as she traces the erratic intersection of her characters from year to year over the decade. Dorothy “Dottie” Parker is her favorite protagonist, fired from her job at Vanity Fair at age 26 in 1920 to embark on a celebrated, albeit hard-won trajectory as critic, short-story writer, and, eventually, novelist, as she struggles personally over the years with her first disintegrating marriage, alcoholism, and tendency toward suicidal depression. Edna St. Vincent Millay, called “Vincent” throughout, takes no prisoners in her amatory swath of Greenwich Village, where she conquers Edmund “Bunny” Wilson, among others, while trying to create a writer's life away from her two meddling sisters and mother. By 1923, Vincent has won the Pulitzer (still rare for a woman) for her Ballad of the Harp-Weaver, and eventually switches gears to settle down in the Berkshires with her Dutch businessman husband. Alabama belle Zelda Sayre, meanwhile, marries Scott Fitzgerald at age 19 in St. Patrick's Cathedral, intent on a wild public spectacle of flapperhood with the publication of This Side of Paradise. Meade's Zelda, however, is no shrinking violet: a muse to her husband (who regularly appropriates her diary entries and ideas), she develops discipline and ambition in ballet and story-writing to supplement the family income. Meanwhile, Edna Ferber, who, like Parker, is a favorite of the Algonquin Round Table, appears all too sketchily here, as the towering proto-feminist, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who did it all on her own—a marvelous study of brains, ambition, and hobnobbing. Overall, Meade supplies plenty of unsavory superfluity among the well-worn facts (abortions, sad marriages, boozy cutups), and even some recipes for Prohibition cocktails.

Largely apocryphal and hardly scholarly, but a lot of fun.

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-385-50242-7

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more