Heywood Broun has become a long forgotten whipsaw sharp humorist. Even the more notable Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, of the same Smart Set, are getting long lost nearly 100 years after blazing literary trails of wit.
I can’t even remember where I picked up this copy of Dale Kramer’s ‘Heywood Broun’, but I have never seen it again. I had to enter the book, here, into the Goodread’s shelves. That’s a true pity, for this book of Broun’s life is very well written and researched. The writing is better than most biographies. There’s a closeness felt in the writing to Broun that seems to be closer than Broun, himself, would have allowed.
There are the troubles: Lack of years noted, which, as usual, gets confusing while reading. There are asides of supposed dialogue at different points, that are very good, but for someone as guarded as Broun, have to wonder about the accuracy. The dialogue does fit well and well illustrates the narrative.
There seems to also be the noticeable edits throughout the book as names come out of no where with no explanation. The names are not recognizable, even with my knowledge of the circle Broun ran around with.
Bottom line: I recommend this book….IF you can find it.
An aside: The book is inscribed Christmastime 1949 by Maggie Bartel, long time reporter for the New York Daily News. She retired to Key West and became, and apparently is still, instrumental in recording Key West history. Something dear to my heart.
Bartel had inscribed the book to, what appears to be, “Bob Ring”, who I could find nothing about. Was hoping this might help me figure out where I had picked up the book. Possibly Bartel never gave the book to Ring and I found it during one of my trips to the Keys. The book does appear otherwise not to have been read, though the dust jacket is in terrible shape.