Walter Winchell (Michael Herr) pdf, epub, doc

Walter Winchell ePub and PDF Available
I am in a used book store looking for a copy of Dispatches,a popular Vietnam War book from 1978, by Michael Herr. Instead, I find Walter Winchell, A Novel by Michael Herr published in 1989. I figure I’ll give it a try. It is a small hardcover, 158 pages. Nobody in GR notices this book although it is an interesting read, probably because it is rarely available.

If you are under 30 you have never heard of Walter Winchell (1897-1972) who was a well known newspaper columnist and radio commentator in the 1940s and 1950s. It is said that he invented the gossip column. His career is followed in this “novel” that seems to be fairly true to life based on the limited biographical details I found online, possibly best categorized as historical fiction. In a preface, Herr writes “Even though Walter Winchell is based on the life of a real man and often uses his actual words, it’s a fiction, and it’s in prose. So it must be prose fiction. You could call it a screenplay that’s typed like a novel, that reads like a novel, but plays like a movie. “

The cover notes reveal that Michael Herr was the coauthor of the screenplay for the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket. According the Wikipedia, he also contributed to the narration of Apocalypse Now. So he is successfully practiced as a screenwriter.

Also from the book jacket:

Walter Winchell was brassy, ambitious, arrogant, sentimental, cunning, devastatingly sharp-witted, loved and hated, loving and hateful – as dynamic and complicated as the America that produced him. At the height of his fame, his daily newspaper column and weekly radio broadcasts commanded an obsessively loyal following some 50 million strong. From his personal headquarters – Table 50 at The Stork Club in New York City – Winchell ruled an empire of gossip, rumor, and influence, making and breaking reputations and careers and enthralling his audience with the “private” lives of those he deemed worthy of his attention, benevolent or otherwise. His own life is a story of rise and fall, rags to riches, fame to obscurity…

This book is worth the few hours it takes to read although it may not appeal to many beyond the radio and newspaper generation who remember the 1950s and 60s. It may also be that you will only stumble on Walter Winchell, A Novel when you are at a used book store looking for a copy of Dispatches. I found a copy at Amazon Marketplace for $70.30 and no place else. I’ll sell you my copy for $50!

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