Part of Our Time: Some Ruins and Monuments of the Thirties

Part of Our Time: Some Ruins and Monuments of the Thirties

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by Murray Kempton, David Remnick
     
 

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Through brilliant portraits of real persons who created the myths and realities of the 1930s, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Murray Kempton brings that turbulent decade to life. Himself a child of the time, Kempton examines with the insight and imagination of a novelist the men and women who embraced, grappled with, and in many cases were destroyed by the… See more details below

Overview

Through brilliant portraits of real persons who created the myths and realities of the 1930s, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Murray Kempton brings that turbulent decade to life. Himself a child of the time, Kempton examines with the insight and imagination of a novelist the men and women who embraced, grappled with, and in many cases were destroyed by the myth of revolution. What he calls the “ruins and monuments of the Thirties” include Paul Robeson, Alger Hiss, and Whittaker Chambers, the Hollywood Ten, the rebel women Elizabeth Bentley and Mary Heaton Vorse, and the labor leaders Walter Reuther and Joe Curran.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
In lieu of the newsreel-style recitations of '30s calamities that we find in most political histories of the decade, Kempton tracked down the "social myth" of the 1930s as it was lived in miniature, via the life studies of a dozen or so assembled dramatis personae. The book, Kempton cautioned, is "a series of novellas which happen to be about real persons." — Chris Lehmann
Scott Sherman
Part of Our Time is a cause for celebration...It is probably the most outstanding book on early twentieth-century American radicalism, and certainly one of the most beautifully written non-fiction works published since 1945.
From the Publisher
"A valuable and entertaining text on the destruction of the radical left in American politics"
— Russell Baker

"He was free of the woeful predictability of ideologues of both the left and the right."
— Elizabeth Hardwick

"In presenting his segments of history Kempton uses the technique of the novelist—and it comes off brilliantly. He succeeds in evoking the characters of the men and women he writes about, and he does what only the good novelist can do: he re-creates the atmosphere of the time in which they functioned and so forces the reader to inhabit a world which may be alien, dimly recalled, or long forgotten."
The Nation

"Kempton’s book is exceedingly well written. It holds us in some places with a pathos of futility and in others with a drama of achievement….He does much to set in perspective an episode and a period that has been long distorted. The richness and pungency of his style make him easy to read."
The New York Times

One of our finest journalists, Kempton was always something of a cult writer, revered by his peers but lacking the profile of a Jimmy Breslin or Garry Wills. A tabloid columnist who looked like a classics professor (he was rarely without his pipe), Kempton—first at the New York Post, then at Newsday—forged one of the most distinct, if not eccentric, styles in American journalism….His column always promised a strange, pleasurable experience: Pungent yet decorous, invariably teeming with rogues and scoundrels, corrupt pols and indicted capos, Kempton’s pieces often read like a Damon Runyon sketch rewritten by a Victorian man of letters.
— Bookforum

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590175446
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
10/17/2012
Series:
New York Review Books Classics Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
0 MB

Meet the Author

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) was a columnist for Newsday, as well as a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. His books include Rebellions, Perversities, and Main Events and The Briar Patch, as well as Part of Our Time. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985.

David Remnick is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lenin’s Tomb, The Devil Problem and Other True Stories, and Resurrection. He is the editor of The New Yorker.

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