"Here again is James T. Farrell: working, arguing, marrying, wandering, struggling against the remorseless tides of fashion and dismissal," wrote PETE HAMILL, novelist and veteran New York newspaperman.
"Here, too, are Farrell's Chicago, the meanings of Irishness, the endless writer's struggle for an elusive truth.
"Sometimes Farrell triumphs. More often he loses. And yet he goes on, with valor, to redeem the saddest parts of the life itself through persistence and will."
I first came upon James T. Farrell (1904-1979) as a possible subject for a book around 1990, in a memoir by Sloan Wilson ...
founding editor of The New Criterion and former chief art critic of The New York Times. Among the "many virtues" of An Honest Writer are "the clarity of its prose and the fairness of its judgments," he wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "Mr. Landers's biography deserves high praise."
struggle to forge some kind of workable relation between art and politics," said WILLIAM H. PRITCHARD, a professor of English at Amherst College, writing in The Washington Times. Farrell "has been so well served by Mr. Landers' labor of love."
Father ANDREW GREELEY, noted sociologist and author of "The Catholic Revolution," writing in Commonweal. "One believes at the end that one knows Jim Farrell. ... [He] was not always an easy man, sometimes perhaps not a good man, but he certainly was what Landers calls him in his title, an honest man. He was also at times a very good writer and [in Studs Lonigan and the O'Neill-O'Flaherty novels] a great American writer."
why the genre is so vital to an appreciation of literature and the literary life. Farrell is now an overlooked writer. To discover why this is so," said CARL ROLLYSON, author of "The Lives of Norman Mailer" and many other biographies, "is to explore how his career played itself out and how literary fashions change, as well as to understand the roles politics, the publishing industry, and literary criticism play in making and breaking writers' reputations."
Robert K. Landers "restores Farrell to his rightful place in American letters a century after his birth," wrote DONNA SEAMAN, associate editor of the American Library Association's Booklist. "By bringing Farrell's rough Chicago boyhood into crisp focus, Landers illuminates the primary source for his gritty fiction and the impetus for his becoming a boldly independent yet integral member of the radical Left. Landers convincingly argues that what Farrell, compulsively prolific and uneven, lacked in stylistic panache he made up for with keen observations and intensity, making him a literary force to be reckoned with, and treasured."
In the fall of 2013, Robert Frost appeared to undergo a savage attack at the hands of acclaimed novelist Joyce Carol Oates. I surmised that Oates once again had "pathography" in her sights.
JFK & THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
At one point as the crisis unfolded, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara asserted that Moscow's placement of nuclear missiles in Cuba would have no effect, none "at all," on the strategic balance of power with the Soviet Union.
No longer can schools ignore the rest of the globe, and no longer can they treat all Americans as if they sprang from the same mold.
"An excellent job. It is a tangled skein, and it is difficult for writers to explain the complexities of the issues involved. But you did it magnificently. Indeed, I would say that this is the single best explanation of the controversy that I have yet read." -- DIANE RAVITCH, a historian of education who is now Research Professor of Education at New York University, in a note to the author
Is there a common body of knowledge that all educated persons should possess? Should all undergraduates, regardless of their major, be expected to take a core of required courses in essential areas? And, if so, what should be taught in those courses? These questions are not new, but they are at the heart of the current controversy over curriculum at America's colleges and universities.
A bicentennial look back at the "assembly of demigods" (per Thomas Jefferson) that created the U.S. Constitution.
If the very possibility of disinterestedness in public policy research is eliminated, if all think tanks and their scholars are assumed to be combatants (or slackers) in an ideological war, then does not that undermine their very reason for being, and undermine as well what many have regarded as the special strength of America's politics--its non-ideological character, its emphasis on compromise and consensus?
From cult to respectability, and back again, Libertarians took their party and ran off to Texas, leaving Washington and Ed Crane's "real-world-ism" behind. "They're a cult again, which is what they were when I dragged them out of it, kicking and screaming," said Crane, then-president of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank and tentacle of the so-called "Koch-topus."
For more than a decade then, the homeless were visible on the streets of U.S. cities despite most Americans' desire to get them help. Low-cost housing, often presented as the solution, would have helped the homeless who were just down on their luck. But most homeless individuals had one or more serious disabilities--disabilities that, in fact, may have been part of the reason they were homeless. For them, housing alone would not be enough.
Although the stubborn common cold is not yet defeated, researchers have made great strides in understanding it. They now realize that hundreds of viruses, not just one, are to blame.
"[This report is] one of the very best pieces on the subject I have ever seen done by a lay publication." -- Dr. JACK M. GWALTNEY, JR., a leading cold researcher who is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, in a note to the author
In his two-hour CBS documentary, The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America, Bill Moyers was, in effect, conveying to millions of viewers the news that the liberal wisdom on the subject of welfare and poverty was being revised. Illegitimacy and welfare dependency were important problems, after all, and not mere phantasms useful for "blaming the victim." Conservatives, too, have been rethinking their approach, putting new stress on the impact of welfare dependency and non-work on the poor, rather than on welfare fraud and the impact of welfare expenditures on government budgets.
A vision of decent housing for the poor drove the late James Rouse, the developer who gave us glitzy malls and festival marketplaces.
A man complaining of pain in his left shoulder entered a Connecticut hospital, never imagining that he would end up permanently paralyzed from the chest down, nor that a hospital therapist would doctor his medical records and lie under oath about them.
CHECK OUT Chris Landers's reporting on such intriguing subjects as a down-on-his-luck ex-"Tarzan," "Anonymous" vs. Scientology, and everything you really ought to know about Rattus Baltimoreanus.