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Press credentials granted the eagle-eyed Ellis a front-row seat to many major events of the 20th century, and he captures them here in a vivid, pictorial style—whether covering politicians like Huey Long, movie stars and performers such as Grace Kelly and Paul Robeson, or history-making news events, including the creation of the United Nations. He recounts his encounter with the legendarily witty Mae West—whose press agent turns out to be feeding lines to her. He chronicles a New Orleans jazz joint in the 30s where he interviews a talented, young trumpeter: Louie Armstrong. He writes of taking long strolls with Harry Truman, and of observing Senator Joseph McCarthy for the first time.
The sparkle in Ellis’s writing comes not solely from his encounters with the rich and famous, but from his attentiveness to, and enjoyment of, everyday life. In Ellis’s own words, this is “not a record of world deeds, mighty achievements, conquests” but “the drama of the unfolding life of one individual, day after day after day.”
In addition to two 16-page photographic inserts, the book contains original caricatures drawn by the author.