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A capricious -- if concentrated -- career which in its day was headline and which currently has an unexplored interest, on the factual side. And it is a good story -- in its almost involuntary choice of profession and in its honest confession of taking on a job before finished training -- and in its appraisal of good box office and grandstanding when the temper of the bull, the audience and the bullring have become known. The boy from Brooklyn finds the origins of his life as a matador in his father's hot temper which sent him for a short stay in Mexico after his graduation from Columbia, and in the taunting and teasing -- and insults to American courage -- which drove him to prove that Spanish or Latin blood was not necessary for a bullfighter. There's his courageous but technically imperfect debut -- after a hilarious and bruising workout on a ranch -- with only a grounding in veronicas (and an expert coaching him in sword work when he was due to kill the bull); his determination to effect a scientific approach; his experience with critics; the long road of experience which led, after seven years away from home, to Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia -- and after 20 years to the rank of a professional. There is Mexican ranch and small town life, jungles and travels, accidents and operations, money earned and spent, the rules and protocol (often broken, or disregarded by Franklin), his meeting and friendship with Hemingway, the predictably emotional unbalance of bullring spectators -- and his slightly bewildered part in the Civil War.....in sometimes strutting, sometimes naive fashion. Although not as stylewise as Death In The Afternoon or Matador, this detailed record still makes its claim as personal history for an audience reawakened by recent blood, sand and brave bulls bookings.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1952
Publisher: Prentice-Hall