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Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives
     

Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives

3.0 1
by Stanley Crouch
 

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  As a cultural and political commentator, Stanley Crouch in unapologetically contentious and delightfully iconoclastic. Whether he is writing on the uniqueness of the American South, the death of Tupak Shakur, the O.J. Simpson verdict, or the damage done by the Oklahoma City bombing, Crouch's high-velocity exchange with American culture is conducted with

Overview

  As a cultural and political commentator, Stanley Crouch in unapologetically contentious and delightfully iconoclastic. Whether he is writing on the uniqueness of the American South, the death of Tupak Shakur, the O.J. Simpson verdict, or the damage done by the Oklahoma City bombing, Crouch's high-velocity exchange with American culture is conducted with scrupulous allegiance to the truth, even when it hurtsand it usually does. And on the subject of jazzfrom Sidney Bechet to Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington to Miles Davisthere is no one more articulate, impassioned, and encyclopedic in his knowledge than Stanley Crouch.

   Crouch approaches everything in his path with head-on energy, restless intelligence, and a refreshing faith in the collective experiment that is Americaand he does so in a virtuosic prose style that is never less than thrilling.




From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

David Futrelle

Stanley Crouch has made his reputation as a sort of literary bruiser, both literally and figuratively. He's known for his savage, slashing assaults on celebrities both highbrow and low -- particularly those fellow African-Americans who, in Crouch's view, take too seriously the pieties of political correctness and multiculturalism. And, like many New York intellectuals of old, Crouch doesn't always make a clear distinction between writin' and fightin'. In the jazz world -- where Crouch's often controversial opinions carry a great deal of weight -- more than a few of his remarks have led to fisticuffs.

It's not hard to understand why. Crouch is, if nothing else, blunt in his insults. In the past, he's dismissed critic bell hooks as a "terrier" and compared novelist Toni Morrison to P.T. Barnum. In his latest collection of essays, Always in Pursuit, Crouch -- a contributing editor at the New Republic and a columnist for the New York Daily News -- takes on everyone and everything from the bland pop of Michael Jackson ("The King of Narcissism") to the raw comedy of Richard Pryor and Def Comedy Jam ("minstrelsy with dirty words, Uncle Tom cursing his way to the bank"); from Phil Donahue ("irritating ... smug ... sanctimonious") to Malcolm X (a "saber-rattling black nationalist ... rabble rouser").

Crouch's critics on the left have tended to dismiss him as little more than a neocon Uncle Tom, winning plaudits from the establishment for espousing the sort of "political incorrectness" that plays all too well in Peoria. They have a point: Does anyone imagine that it takes much in the way of guts to denounce rap music as "garbage" or to conclude that nuttily Afrocentric City College of New York professor Leonard Jeffries is a "buffoon"? Or that it takes real courage for Crouch to denounce "liberal racism" at a conference sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute? (One of his essays was originally delivered as a talk there.)

Still, Crouch is something more than a neocon hit man. While he generally prefers to attack with a right hook, landing his hardest blows on unsuspecting liberal icons and purveyors of pop culture "garbage," his ideological affinities are unpredictable, to say the least. Always in Pursuit contains loving paeans to the late Ron Brown, former Clinton administration wheeler-dealer, and (even more strangely) to defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, whom one might have expected Crouch to dismiss as a race-baiting conspiracy-monger.

Crouch's greatest crimes, though, come in the realm of style. Though he has a certain flair with the sound bite, most of Crouch's sentences are baggy, formless concoctions that only loosely adhere to conventional rules of grammar; his book is a chore to traverse. Take this sentence, a commentary on last year's summer blockbuster Twister, which Crouch seems to think contains some profound lessons on life in postmodern America: "This American Mars and Diana who, far more than a century ago, became the pioneer man and woman on our frontier and have now been remade yet again to speak for the rallying point of the sexes in the face of our shifting redefinitions of each other and of the frontier that is now at least partially about how we shall use our technology to better human life."

No, it doesn't take much courage to toss another log on the fire of political correctness. But it does take a certain amount of chutzpah to push a sentence like that into print. -- Salon

Library Journal
From Duke Ellington to The Nutty Professor, another scathing collection of essays.
From the Publisher
"Crouch [is] a master of the provocative sentence and vivid image."-USA Today

"Feisty and varied...beautifully written...Crouch gives us much to think about and says things about this country that need to be said."- Houston Chronicle

"Among contemporary essayists, few match Stanley Crouch for breath of subject matter, diversity of style and sheer brilliance."- Emerge

"Tremendous... one of the greatest nonfiction pens in modern American writing... The ambition, lyricism, rhythm, and breadth of knowledge evidence in his paragraphs can be brilliant."- The Village Voice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307554321
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/24/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Stanley Crouch is a contributing editor to The New Republic, a Sunday columnist for the New York Daily News, and a frequent panelist on The Charlie Rose Show. He is the author of The All-American Skin Game (which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award) and Notes of a Hanging Judge. For years a jazz critic and staff writer for the Village Voice, he is Artistic Consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center. He lives in New York City


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that Stanley Crouch writes well and presents his arguments in a well thoughout manner. I do not think that you have to agree with everything he writes in order to see that he is quite the intellectual. However, what is very much dissappointing about this book is that Crouch appears to personally attack and insult many of those people with whom he disagrees or sees fault with. Why is it neccesary to give the impression of presonally attacking or insulting someone simply because you do not agree with them?