CITIZEN PAUL: A Story of Father & Son by Ralph Schoenstein

CITIZEN PAUL: A Story of Father & Son

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Schoenstein's father Paul was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of New York's Journal American, an expansive character who hobnobbed with city bigwigs, consulted FBI agents at curbside, and operated as a sort of Mister New York. His stories of journalistic coups and Hearstmanship captivated the young boy but it was a trade-off: Ralph got a larger-than-life father who could throw a three-ring bar mitzvah or get unobtainable tickets but couldn't sit through nine innings or get much closer than ""You need any money?"" This sure-footed, rollicking memoir of father and son is both tribute and tease: one appreciates the old man's cultivated hyperbole (""I can do anything with a phone"") and sees it, once removed, in the grown son's version of events. Of the muddle that resulted from one such long-distance interference: ""my position was now like that of a man who has just been caught writing Hitler sucks on a Berchtesgaden wail."" And so on, from oranges in the kitchen and juicy banner headlines through a short, disagreeable span at the World Journal Tribune (after the Journal folded) to his shrunken last days (""The goddam Post in the Journal building. At least Dolly Schiff doesn't have my old office""). Schoenstein's previous efforts have been spotty but Citizen Paul moves as smoothly as a good stand-up comedy routine, paced by spicy punch lines and written with open affection.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1978
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux