Life Wounds, Books Heal -- American proverb
For a reprint of a five-star review of my historical novel Bill Hope: His Story, and a comment by me, go here and scroll down. It's the kind of review authors dream of and rarely get. To see my comment, click on "comment," in small print following the review. And feel free to add a comment of your own.
Since the sayings that follow have little to do with New York, the presumed subject of this blog, I'll do some small talk about someone who is very New York, albeit Staten Island. This comment is inspired by an article in the New York Times of December 21 by Alan Feuer, entitled "An Odd Staten Island Lawyer Now a Puzzle for Prosecutors." The gentleman in question is Richard Luthmann, whom I had never heard of before. A photo shows a man of 38, spectacled, his upper lip overlaid with a mustache resembling a hairy black caterpillar, and a black-bearded chin over a bow tie that is evidently his trade mark, this one being crimson in color and suggesting a small bat in flight.
So why is Mr. Luthmann a puzzle? First of all, being a devoted follower of "Game of Thrones," he once asked a judge to let him settle a lawsuit by dueling with his adversary's lawyer in what he called his "common law right to Trial by Combat." Also, when accused of creating phony Facebook pages to discredit his political enemies, he responded by writing on Facebook, "I am a bear with the taste of blood in my mouth." These and other antics help explain why he's considered a local oddity, Staten Island's version of the trickster. Perennially bow-tied, volatile and angry, he apparently resents his failure to qualify for a 2013 campaign for borough president, when he failed to obtain enough signatures to get on the ballot. A month after that he crashed his car into a guardrail and was arrested for drunken driving, though the charges were later dismissed.
But now the plot thickens. Federal prosecutors have accused him of a series of crimes that include the following:
- posting images on the Internet of a local politician with hash tages like "#targetpractice" and "#hunting season"
- trying to pay a stripper $10,000 to claim she was raped by a candidate running for district attorney
- trying to sell shipping containers of cheap filler material to local businessmen as scrap metal
- asking a Mafia associate to beat up one enemy and murder another
|Madame de Pompadour, portrait by François Boucher, ca. 1750.|
|Marie Antoinette, portrait by Le Brun, 1783.|
|Harriet Beecher Stowe, ca. 1852. No glamorpuss,|
but her book helped bring on the Civil War.
|A man who knew war and how to inflict the hell of it.|
This brief, forceful statement has long been attributed to this Northern Civil War general, famous – and in the South notorious – for his march through Georgia to the sea, wreaking havoc on the countryside as he went. His candid view of war – its cruelty, its destruction – is well documented, and in an 1879 address to the graduating class of the Michigan Military Academy he said: “You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is hell!” There are variants of this statement, but the basic thrust of it is consistent and clear. Yes, Sherman did say it, and in different forms many times.
|Roosevelt the Rough Rider, minus his horse, 1898.|
|The toothy grin I so detested.|
|An 1883 illustration. No need to ask what he's saying; it can only be one thing.|
If you love the city (or hate it), this may be the book for you. An award winner, it sold well at BookCon 2017.
"If you want wonderful inside tales about New York, this is the book for you. Cliff Browder has a way with his writing that makes the city I lived in for 40 plus years come alive in a new and delightful way. A refreshing view on NYC that will not disappoint." Five-star Amazon customer review by Bill L.
For readers who like historical fiction and a fast-moving story.
"A real yarn of a story about a lovable pickpocket who gets into trouble and has a great adventure. A must read." Five-star Amazon customer review by nicole w brown.
"This was a fun book. The main character seemed like a cross between Huck Finn and a Charles Dickens character. I would recommend this." Four-star LibraryThing review by stephvin.
"A lively and entertaining tale. The writing styles, plot, pace and character development were excellent." Four-star LibraryThing early review by BridgitDavis.
"I am glad that I have read this book as it goes into great detail and the presentation is amazing. The Author obviously knows his stuff." Four-star LibraryThing early review by Moiser20.
What was the gay scene like in nineteenth-century New York? Gay romance, if you like, but no porn (I don't do porn). Women have read it and reviewed it. (The cover illustration doesn't hurt.)
"At times amusing, gritty, heartfelt and a little sexy -- this would make a great summer read." Four-star Amazon customer review by BobW.
"Really more of a fantasy of a 19th century gay life than any kind of historical representation of the same." Three-star Goodreads review by Rachel.
|Sherman's march to the sea. Bringing the hell of war to Georgia.|
Coming soon: Money -- Is It Even Real?
© 2017 Clifford Browder