Wolfe and Breslin and the Birth of New York Magazine

By Richard Kluger From The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune 1986 Of all James Bellows’s efforts to strengthen the Tribune, none was more striking than his willingness to take chances on new young writers, whom he encouraged to work in whatever...

The Purple Decades

By James Wolcott The New York Review of Books November 4, 1982 The Purple Decades: A Reader   by Tom Wolfe Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 396 pp., $17.50 Not since Garry Wills uncorked his rather fanciful notions on the origins of the cold war in the opening pages of...

The Ice Cream Man with the Clean White Suit

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader Tom Wolfe died a couple of days ago and if you have never read his entertaining and much-celebrated non-fiction, well, now is as good a time as any to dig in. Start with the relatively straight-forward “The Marvelous Mouth of Cassius...

Chuck Bowden and the Red Cadillac

By Luis Alberto Urrea From Red Caddy 2018 The License Plate Said “Hayduke”: Chuck Bowden and the Red Cadillac “I try to construct a theory of how a moral person should live in these circumstances, and how such a person should love.”   Charles Bowden, Desierto...

The Stacks Chat: Steve Oney

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader I love anthologies of magazine journalism but you don’t see them published much these days and that’s a damn shame. Safe to say everyone around these parts is grateful to the university presses for keeping the fine tradition alive. We...

My Ears Are Bent

By John Schulian MSNBC 2001 Not a holiday season arrives that I don’t think of a gray, clammy day long ago on Baltimore’s waterfront and a lost soul who told me about the woman who had given him his only gift in years: a Christmas card. It was just the sort of story I...

The Elmore Leonard Starter Kit

By Alex Belth The Concourse October 6, 2015 One of the coolest things about Elmore Leonard’s crime fiction is that he didn’t get to it until he was close to 50 years old and had been a professional writer for more than 20. His books pared away anything unnecessary...

The American Novel Made Us

By Seymour Krim Playboy June 1969 I was literally made, shaped, whetted and given a world with a purpose by the American realistic novel of the mid- to late 1930s. From the age of 14 to 17, I gorged myself on the works of Thomas Wolfe (beginning with Of Time and the...

The Stacks Chat: Gregg Sutter

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader September 16, 2014 Hard to imagine having a cooler job than the one Gregg Sutter had for more than 30 years, when he served as the late Elmore Leonard’s researcher. Sutter is the editor of the Library of America’s Elmore Leonard...

From Pinkerton to Nick and Nora

By Nathan Ward From The Lost Detective 2015 During the winter of 1932, Sid Perelman saw Dashiell Hammett back in New York, at the Sutton Club Hotel on East 55th Street. To land there, Hammett had burned through his remaining movie money at more luxurious...

The Stacks Chat: Pete Dexter (Get the Papers, Get the Papers)

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter April 30, 2013 “The truest thing in the world was that you showed who you were writing a column. He said that at his lectures, and they always took that to mean politics or how you feel about the death penalty. Which had nothing to do with...

The Killing of Gus Hasford

By Grover Lewis L.A. Weekly June 4–10, 1993 1. SEMPER GUS “The best work of fiction about the Vietnam War,” Newsweek called Gus Hasford’s The Short-Timers when it was first published in 1979. The slim hardcover sold, like most first novels, in the low thousands, but...