The Man with the Golden Arm

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Overview

A novel of rare genius, The Man with the Golden Arm has been called "Algren's most satisfying work." It describes the dissolution of a card-dealing WWII veteran named Frankie Machine, caught in the act of slowly cutting his own heart into water-thin slices. For Frankie, a murder committed may be the least of his problems." "In this first critical edition of an Algren work, Algren's novel is joined by reminiscences from John Clellon Holmes, Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others; rare photos by ...
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New York, NY 1990 Paperback First Edition, First Printing New in None as Issued jacket First Edition, First Printing Text/BRAND NEW. Illustrated soft cover/NF w/trace wear to ... corner tips. Winner of the Nat'l Book Award for Fiction, 1950. The poem "The Man With the Golden Arm" first published in the 1947 issue of Poetry; the novel was first published in 1949. Nelson Algren (1909-1981) was born in Detroit and raised in the Chicago slums. Story of Frankie Machine (anglicized from Polish, Majcinek), a poker dealer in a gambling club who succumbs to drugs. A powerful, realistic novel of social protest; a portrait of the urban underclass. Read more Show Less

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The Man with the Golden Arm

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Overview

A novel of rare genius, The Man with the Golden Arm has been called "Algren's most satisfying work." It describes the dissolution of a card-dealing WWII veteran named Frankie Machine, caught in the act of slowly cutting his own heart into water-thin slices. For Frankie, a murder committed may be the least of his problems." "In this first critical edition of an Algren work, Algren's novel is joined by reminiscences from John Clellon Holmes, Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others; rare photos by Art Shay; a previously unpublished letter by Algren on the novel's genesis; and an array of critical views, both contemporary and historical.

"Algren's defense of the individual in The Man with the Golden Arm brings a new dimension to realism"---Malcolm Cowley

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Editorial Reviews

Newton
This fiftieth-anniversary critical edition of Man with the Golden Arm shows Algren at his very finest. The edition closes with over a hundred pages of reminiscences, letters, early press reviews and recent scholarly essays. If you are to judge a man by his friends, then we should rate Algren high indeed: Studs Terkel, Kurt Vonnegut, even Lou Reed wanted to include a testimonial...The Man with the Golden Arm is a great book...No reader with an interest in American literature, or in the sufferings of ordinary people, can afford to ignore it.
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780941423380
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1990
  • Pages: 348

Table of Contents

Editors' Preface
The Man with the Golden Arm 1
Remembrances
Letter to Joe Haas 345
Arm: A Memoir 349
Algren's Golden Pen 363
Algren as I Knew Him 367
Glasses 371
Nelson Algren's Politics 377
Photographing Nelson Algren 381
Early Reception
Nelson Algren: The Iron Sanctuary 387
Nelson Algren 393
A Voyeur's View of the Wild Side: Nelson Algren and His Reviewers 399
New Views
Algren's Question 411
The Quality of Laughter: Algren's Challenge to the Reader 417
The Story of Decline and the October City 423
The Heart of the Matter 433
The Value of Dissent 437
Golden Arm's Song of Sweet Surrender 439
An Algren Photo Essay 445
Contributor Biographies 451
Acknowledgments and Credits 453
About the Author 455
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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted July 25, 2014

    Misery loves company

    This story begins somewhat darkly. Our friends are in the slammer, and they are getting little respect from the orderlies. After release, we get a look at their lives, and the lives of their buddies and women. And the picture is bleak. I thought this was going to be an adventure/drama type story. Now I wonder what the point is. Is this a comedy? Because there are funny angles. Is it a commentary on society? Or is it a glimpse at how some pathetic souls live? Are we supposed to do something? How can we do anything? It is a dark story for sure. Frank and Sophia. Violet and Stash. Smoky, rank poker halls, where the fix is always in. All live in misery, the hustled and the hustlers. This is a book I did not want to pick up again. A bad choice for the first award. A bit like 'them' from Joyce Carroll Oates. A terrifically sad, depressing story about the lost souls humanity may always have. Glad to be done with it. Now on to a good story.

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  • Posted May 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Feeling a little low in spirit? If you take meds for depression

    Feeling a little low in spirit?

    If you take meds for depression, you should definitely skip this one as it is a total downer. The man with the golden arm is the story of an impoverished, morphine addicted card hustler set in post war Chicago. While dreaming of playing drums in a big band someday, Frankie Machine deals cards every night at a back room gambling parlor. He has an affair, shoots morphine, gets busted for stealing and does a brief stint in the joint where he cleans up; but it does little to ebb the guilt he feels for causing the car crash that left his wife crippled, bitter and insane. Author Nelson Algren gives a sad, if not eye opening look into the seedier side of the supposedly sanitized post war America. It’s a world of illegal gambling, hustlers, dope fiends, burlesque houses, petty theft, and murder. Craving an uplifting happy ending? Better read something else. This realistic look at the life of an addict at a time when drug use was still underground will make you grateful that your life is not a bleak as that of Frankie Machine.

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