Elmore’s Opening Lines

By Elmore Leonard From All of the ’Em, 1953-’05 1950s   “Dave Flynn stretched his boots over the footrest and his body eased lower into the barber chair.”—The Bounty Hunters (1953)   “At times during the morning, he would think of the man named Kirby Frye.”—The Law At...

Buried Bones

By Marilyn Johnson From Lives in Ruins, 2014 Most of the archaeologists in Marilyn Johnson’s Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble deal with old or even ancient objects: sunken ships from the Revolutionary War, pottery from the...

Grateful Dead I Have Known

By Ed McClanahan From My Vita, If You Will, 1998 If you’ve got it all together, what’s that all around it? —Inscribed on my bathroom wall by Ken Kesey, who attributed it Brother Dave Gardner A bright Sunday afternoon in August 1971, just one week after Bill Graham...

Pride and Prejudice

By David Maraniss From Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero, 2006 There was something about Clemente that surpassed statistics, then and always. Some baseball mavens love the sport precisely because of its numbers. They can take the mathematics of a...

The Lindbergh Legends

By John Lardner From The Aspirin Age, 1949 In May 1927, a slim, comely man of twenty-five years flew an airplane from New York to Paris all by himself, without stopping. His performance was instantly recognized as the climactic stunt of a time of marvelous stunts, of...