Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero - Nancy Schoenberger

Staff Pick

It’s been more than half a century since The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance—the last time John Ford put John Wayne in a cowboy hat on-screen. By now, that screen moment has become part of a strain of nearly legendary American iconography: at one time, this is what it meant to be a prime American man, for better or worse. Nancy Schoenberger’s book, a brilliant double portrait of Wayne and Ford (Nan A. Talese, $27.95) and the movies they made together, wipes the grease off that image to reveal values more nuanced than generally assumed. She illuminates how men with such performative love for the mid-century patriotism as these two could create movies as conflicted about blinkered American militarism as Fort Apache. How they maintained personas that place male prowess so consistently front-and-center and could also give us loving portraits of camaraderie among “feminized” men, whose collective bluster naturally complements delicate underlying virtues. It’s telling that Schoenberger highlights the history of female writers who find what sets Wayne and Ford apart, from Joan Didion to Molly Haskell to the author herself. With a gentle force that matches her subjects’, she separates them from ossified tradition and demonstrates a new way of writing them into an ever-changing American story.

Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero By Nancy Schoenberger Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385534857
Availability: Backordered
Published: Nan A. Talese - October 24th, 2017

Gaslight - Joachim Kalka

Staff Pick
The 19th century might have seemed far away in the late-20th century, but now that we’re in the 21st century, how does it feel? When you read books like Joachim Kalka’s Gaslight, the answer is “surprisingly close”, and history feels significantly larger after reading it. It’s a book made from a melange of styles—literary criticism, military history, true crime—but they're all of a piece, because they’re all recognizably facets of the same world. We know how the modern world, as it exists now, can find its way into literature, so it's fun and enlightening to see how canonical artists like Marcel Proust and Emile Zola, Karl Kraus and Alban Berg dealt with their own contemporary bugaboos, from Jack the Ripper to the Dreyfus Affair, from anarchists to submarines.
Gaslight: Lantern Slides from the Nineteenth Century By Joachim Kalka, Isabel Fargo Cole (Translated by) Cover Image
By Joachim Kalka, Isabel Fargo Cole (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781681371184
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: New York Review Books - June 6th, 2017

Encircling - Carl Frode Tiller

Staff Pick

Encircling has a classic set-up—a man has lost his memory, and people who’ve known him well are helping patch the holes in his identity—but the real attraction is the execution. The book comes in three parts, each divided between the letters David’s erstwhile loved ones use to tell him of his past and the fraught days in their own lives that precede their discovery of his condition. They inevitably wrap their present-day troubles around their reminiscences, giving portraits that reveal themselves as much as David. Tiller’s the kind of writer whose overflow of moment-to-moment details feels abnormally vivid, quickening instead of halting the pace. Just as enticing: there’s more to come—this begins a trilogy, each entry promising even more shades to David’s life.

Encircling: A Novel By Carl Frode Tiller Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977627
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Graywolf Press - February 21st, 2017