James Salter, who died on June 19, was a novelist and short-story writer whose books included A Sport and a Pastime, Light Years, Dusk and Other Stories, and, most recently, All That Is . (August 2015)
The Wrights’ first aircraft, really a large kite, was made of bamboo and paper and had two wings, one over the other, with struts and crisscross wires connecting them. A system of control cords enabled its flight to be directed from the ground. Although they ended with a crash, the tests were successful, the brothers felt, and the following summer they built a full-sized glider with an eighteen-foot wingspan meant to be flown as a kite and, if that went well, to carry a man.
The hundreds of letters written by William Styron, nearly sixty years of them, many quite long, are about such matters as the public apology of Robert McNamara regarding the Vietnam War, capital punishment, the crassness of American culture, politicians, publishers, the books of friends and less-known writers, the ignorance of …
Ernest Hemingway, the second oldest of six children, was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1899 and lived until 1961, thus representing the first half of the twentieth century. He more than represented it, he embodied it. He was a national and international hero, and his life was mythic. Though none of his novels is set in his own country—they take place in France, Spain, Italy, or in the sea between Cuba and Key West—he is a quintessentially American writer and a fiercely moral one.
Townie is not really about town and gown, it’s about the way of the warrior described in straightforward, driving prose that feels almost like the present tense. Dubus is a writer keenly alert to the physical world, its smells, colors, shapes, and substance, and you sense the desire to put things down clearly and exactly so that they will be remembered.
There was a smell of something burning. It had become completely quiet. There was no word from the cockpit. A woman would text her husband, “My flight is crashing.” The airplane was not crashing, but it was definitely headed down.
Though he followed it by a decade or more, Richard Seaver, an eminent editor, publisher, and translator, belongs to what is now thought of as a better time in American publishing, a period from, say, 1920 to 1950, during which were founded a number of houses controlled by and responding …