Nothing new, but for those who can’t get enough, a nice addition to the groaning shelf of books about the Hamptons’ artsy...

DE KOONING’S BICYCLE

ARTISTS AND WRITERS IN THE HAMPTONS

Agreeable series of sketches about notable residents of Long Island’s East End, by the art critic for the East Hampton Star.

A short introductory chapter traces the East End’s history from the time the first settlers arrived in the mid-17th century through prosperity fueled by the whaling industry to the arrival of the first artists in the 1870s. Then this straightforward chronicle gives way to impressionistic snapshots of the area (which began to be known as the Hamptons in the 1960s) at various significant moments, usually seen through the eyes of a famous artist or writer. William Merritt Chase paints figures against the Shinnecock Bay landscape in 1902. Jackson Pollock’s ghost, wandering through the Metropolitan’s 20th-century art wing, recalls his years with wife Lee Krasner at a cottage in Springs during the 1940s. Poet Frank O’Hara leaves his day job at MoMA in 1966 to board the Montauk Line’s 4:19 train; his friend Fairfield Porter, meanwhile, has an affair with unstable Jimmy Schuyler while wife Anne seethes in their Southampton house, “the New York school’s summer camp from the late 1950s through the 1960s.” Jean Stafford drinks away her final years after A.J. Liebling’s death, in the book’s saddest chapter. And, of course, de Kooning rides his bicycle from his home to the studio where he paints in between drinks. The familiar material is (mostly) redeemed by Long’s fine prose, particularly the lovely descriptions of the Long Island landscape and light. Alcoholism, adultery and professional jealousy among creative people seem to hold a perennial fascination, and Long’s pleasant text is warmed by a longtime resident’s intimate knowledge of the East End’s landmarks: the Green River Cemetery where Pollock’s body lies under an enormous boulder; the Springs General Store run by Dan Miller; the Holiday Grill that marks “the real gateway to the Hamptons.”

Nothing new, but for those who can’t get enough, a nice addition to the groaning shelf of books about the Hamptons’ artsy crowd.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-374-16538-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more